BA History and Spanish

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Introduction to Judaism

Course unit fact file
Unit code RELT10191
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 1
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


The course introduces students to the study of the beliefs and practices of Judaism as an example of what “religion” might be, while reflecting upon its openness to a future, and our own present situation as we study it. .


To explain the main historical characteristics of Judaism, including its “religious” dimension, some of its everyday practices and interactions with other cultural traditions, and the various ways in which the academic discourse can approach Judaism and other cultures.  

Knowledge and understanding

  • Distinguish critically key trends and stages in of the historical development of Judaism
  • Provide a critical account of ways in which there is unity and diversity within Judaism
  • Consider the meaning of key ideas, and the texts and practices in which they function
  • Discuss critically how Judaism has related to other cultures
  • Identify and evaluate various approaches to the academic idea of “religion”

Intellectual skills

Students will have:

  • developed their ability to provide accurate accounts of information
  • enhanced their skill in assessing arguments critically
  • developed the skill to assess progress in their own learning
  • enhanced their skill in finding, evaluating, summarising technical information

Practical skills

  • listening and taking notes in lectures
  • time planning
  • using internet and physical information resources

Transferable skills and personal qualities

  • communicate clearly in written and oral forms
  • participate appropriately in a learning group
  • self-motivation

Assessment methods

Essay plan 0%
Essay 50%
Exam 50%


Feedback methods

Feedback method

Formative or Summative

Written feedback on the draft of an introduction


Written feedback on the Essay


Additional one-to-one feedback (during the consultation hour, or by making an appointment)


Written feedback on Exam



Recommended reading

  • P.S. Alexander, Textual Sources for the Study of Judaism (1984)
  • J.R. Baskin and K. Seeskin (eds), The Cambridge Guide to Jewish History, Religion, and Culture (2010)
  • D. Cohn-Sherbok, Judaism: History, Belief and Practice (2003)
  • N. De Lange, An Introduction to Judaism (2000, 20102
  • E. Segal, Introducing Judaism (2009)
  • N. Solomon, Judaism: A Very Short Introduction (1996, 20002)
  • A. Unterman, Jews: Their Religious Beliefs and Practices (1981)

Study hours

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

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Alexander Samely Unit coordinator

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