The Formation of Judaism
In 586 BCE, Judah fell to Babylonia; in 638 CE, Byzantine Jerusalem surrendered to the Muslims. Between these two dates Israelite culture transformed into “Judaism.” In this introductory course we will examine the major factors in this transformation, looking first at the Second Temple Period (515 BCE to 70 CE) and then the early Rabbinic Period (70 CE-638). We will read selections from the Bible, Jewish literature from the diaspora, the Mishnah, the Talmuds, and other early Rabbinic literature, as well as secondary literature interpreting these primary texts. The Temple, synagogue, priests, teachers, liturgy and prayers, ethics, women and gender, varieties of Judaism, and relations with “others” are among the topics to be treated. 3 hrs. lect./disc.