BA Philosophy and Religion / Course details

Year of entry: 2022

Course unit details:
Jewish Philosophy and Ethics

Unit code RELT20652
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 2
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Offered by Religions & Theology
Available as a free choice unit? Yes

Overview

The course introduces students to the philosophical study of the Jewish religious and non-religious tradition from historical and contemporary points of view. We ask: What are some of the philosophical concepts that have been used to understand the personal God of history whom the Hebrew Bible presents? What role does embodiment and gendering play for the divine figure and for humans? How can one understand as revelation a fixed text, the Hebrew Bible, whose meaning appears to change over time? What can one make of the idea of a creator God giving specific commandments to one people, and how is that connected to an ethics relevant to all humanity? In what sense is there a historical or religious identity of the Jewish people and what does it mean today, in particular after the Holocaust? What is the relationship between the validity of philosophical arguments on the one hand, and arguments from authority or revelation on the other?

 

Aims

  • To introduce students to the philosophical study of the Jewish religious and non-religious tradition from historical and contemporary points of view
  • To explore Jewish philosophy thematically through topics such as the Body, Creation and Gender; notions of Time and History; Language and Revelation; and Society, Ethics and Commandments

 

Knowledge and understanding

By the end of this course students will be able to:

  • critically distinguish key periods and groups of sources among philosophies of Judaism
  • appreciate the variety of philosophical approaches to topics in Jewish tradition
  • critically explain, and assess the strength of, central philosophical arguments in selected thinkers of Judaism and Jewishness
  • make critical use of secondary sources on philosophy

 

Intellectual skills

By the end of this course students will be able to:

  • effectively express ideas and deliver appropriate and accurate information about Jewish philosophy
  • recognise different perspectives while assessing critically the evidence for positions and arguments
  • manage their own academic development, including reflecting on progress and taking appropriate action
  • find, evaluate and summarise technical information from a variety of sources

 

Practical skills

By the end of this course students will be able to:

  • take effective notes during lectures
  • plan their time effectively
  • use internet and physical information resources with confidence

 

Transferable skills and personal qualities

By the end of this course students will be able to:

  • communicate clearly in written and oral forms
  • participate appropriately in a learning group
  • demonstrate enhanced aptitude for independent work
  • demonstrate enhanced aptitude for self-motivation

 

Employability skills

Analytical skills
- practise skills in the critical analysis of real world situations within a defined range of contexts
Research
- improve their ability to find, evaluate, and synthesize technical information from a variety of sources
Other
- demonstrate a high degree of professionalism, including creativity, motivation, accuracy and self-management; - practise effective expression of ideas, as well as appropriate and accurate communication of information; - enhance their ability to recognise different perspectives while assessing critically the evidence for positions and arguments; - manage their own professional development, including reflecting on progress and taking appropriate action; ¿ gain an awareness of the social and community contexts of the academic field of study

Assessment methods

Mock essay intro 0%
Essay 50%
Essay 50%

 

Feedback methods

Feedback method

Formative or Summative

Written feedback on mock introduction to an essay topic, if submitted by the end of week 4

Formative

Written feedback on essays 1 and 2

Summative

Additional one-to-one feedback (during the consultation hours or by appointment)

Formative

 

Recommended reading

  • Frank, D. H. and O. Leaman (eds.), History of Jewish Philosophy (London: Routledge 1997)
  • Frank, D., O. Leaman and C. Manekin (eds.), The Jewish Philosophy Reader (London: Routledge, 2000)
  • Kavka, M., D. Novak and Z. Braiterman (eds.), The Cambridge History of Jewish Philosophy, volume 2: The Modern Era (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 2012)
  • Nadler, S. and T. M. Rudavsky (eds.), The Cambridge History of Jewish Philosophy. From Antiquity through the Seventeenth Century (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008)

 

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 11
Seminars 22
Independent study hours
Independent study 167

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Alexander Samely Unit coordinator

Additional notes

 


 

 

 

Return to course details