This course surveys the complex history of the Jews from the biblical period through Greco-Roman times. It will examine the involvement of the Jewish people with many civilizations and the evolution of Jewish history from the second millennium B.C.E. until the Arab conquest of Jerusalem in 638 C.E. The course encompasses the cultural, socio-political, economic, and religious development of one of the oldest religions of humankind. The impact of Jewish literature, laws, ethics, and prophecy on Christianity and Islam will be discussed. Course Objectives 1) To understand the beginnings of the Israelites as a people, and the cultural legacy they established. 2) To recognize the historical, social, religious, cultural, and literary contexts of important primary source material relating to the Jews in the ancient and early medieval world (up until the Arab conquest). 3) To grasp the serious academic/scholarly issues raised with regard to the early/ ancient history and culture of the Jewish people. 4) To engage in thought-provoking reflection on controversial topics within the course.
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