Maimonides (1135-1204) was born in Cordoba, Spain, at the end of the “Golden Age of Jewish Life in Muslim Spain.” As the epitome of the rationalist approach of medieval Jewish and Islamic philosophy, he understood that philosophy challenged the beliefs of religion. Yet, he was also the consummate Jewish leader who articulated thirteen fundamental principles of Jewish belief which have defined traditional Jewish faith ever since. And he was the halachic authority par excellence who composed a fourteen volume code of Jewish law that stands second, in importance, only to the Talmud. In this course, we will read and analyze passages in translation from his writings and explore his views on the meaning of Jewish existence, the possibility of reconciling secular and religious thought, the principles of Jewish belief, and an ethical approach to life.
The course will illustrate the distinctiveness of medieval Judaism through an exploration of the major trends in medieval Judaism. Topics include the medieval Jewish mindset, Jews living under Islam and Christianity, Jewish-Muslim and Jewish-Christian cultural … Read More
In this course, we will examine the range of European Jewish responses to modernity and the shaping of modern Judaism in Europe through the twentieth century. Topics include the Jewish Enlightenment, the dynamics of Emancipation, … Read More