HIST 320: Modern Jewish Thought
History of Europe
Beginning with the heretic Spinoza, we’ll examine the giants of Jewish thought—religious reformers, philosophers, writers, and
theologians wrestling with the challenges of modernity. Topics will include: the essence of Judaism; the nature of law; religion and the
state; Jewish understandings of God and of evil; the status of women and non-Jews; and the legacy of the Holocaust. We’ll discuss the
Jewish Enlightenment; Reform, Orthodox, Conservative and other Jewish denominations; Zionism and Israel; Jewish existentialism and
the meaning of life; Jewish philosophical and theological responses to the Holocaust; and Jewish feminism.