Foto: Matthias Friel
The cycle of the Jewish year is shaped by the shabbat and the festivals. From the roots in biblical times, through Rabbinic Judaism and medieval customs, to contemporary developments, these sacred and special days were transformed and re-interpreted. This course will provide an overview of the liturgy, the ritual and the theology. Naturally, we can only highlight certain liturgical creations, some rituals, and note how theological reflection and elaboration looked for the meaningful dimension of these practices. Shabbat, the pilgrimage festivals (Pesach, Shavuot, and Sukkot), the Days of Awe (Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur) are the key themes.
The course will be taught in English. The texts will be studied in English and Hebrew. This course is partially based on lectures and therefore attendance and note taking is crucial. Students are expected to participate in class discussions based on the reading assignments. There will be some brief writing exercises and presentations. A five page final essay is to be submitted at the end of the course. The deadline for submission is final.
Proof of performance includes regular participation, reading the texts given for the weekly meetings and various written self-reflections. If students miss more than one fifth of the class the class counts as “not completed” and no credits can be given.
The course will introduce the student to historical, liturgical, and theological approaches to the Sabbatah and the Jewish festivals. Through close readings of selected texts, the students will get to know the perspectives of history, history of religions, theology, and literary interpretation. The larger picture that emerges will contribute to understanding the cycle of the Jewish year as a dynamic phenomenon which has grown throughout history.
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