Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE The History of the Jews in 12 Objects

LEVEL 01 - Year 1 in Modular Undergraduate Course


DEPARTMENT Oriental Studies

DESCRIPTION In the words of acclaimed historian Simon Schama, the story of the Jews is "at once particular and universal, the shared inheritance of Jews and non-Jews alike." This study-unit provides a historical survey of the Jews from ancient times till the present day. This is not a typical history unit, however; rather, the story unfolds in segments, and it is told through various cultural artefacts which shed light on critical moments in Jewish history but also on the mundane, yet no less important, experiences of individual Jews.

Study-unit Aims:

The aims of this study-unit are:
1. to highlight key events in Jewish history;
2. to explore snippets of the Jewish experience;
3. to draw attention to major cultural achievements in Jewish history;
4. to train students to think creatively through cultural objects.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

1. recall and summarize key events in Jewish history;
2. describe and discuss the major facets of Jewish culture;
3. appraise the cultural and historical significance of select Jewish artefacts.

2. Skills
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

1. synthesize different types of data;
2. interpret cultural artefacts in a creative and critical manner;
3. develop an interdisciplinary sensibility;
4. appraise the interconnectedness and complexity of cultural and historical processes.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

A detailed bibliography pertinent to the artefacts to be discussed will be given in class. The following are select books which provide general overviews of Jewish history.

- Biale, David, ed. 2002 Cultures of the Jews: A New History, New York: Random House.
- Cohen, Shaye J. D. 2014. From the Maccabees to the Mishnah, 3rd edn., Louisville: Westminster / John Knox Press.
- Efron, John, Matthias Lehmann, and Steven Weitzman. 2018. The Jews: A History, 3rd edn., London: Routledge.
- Goodman, Martin. 2018. A History of Judaism, New Jersey: Princeton University Press.
- Jacobs, Steven L. 2010. The Jewish Experience: An Introduction to Jewish History and Jewish Life, Minneapolis: Augsburg Fortress.
- Johnson, Paul. 1991. A History of the Jews, New York: HarperCollins.
- Kirsch, Adam. 2016. The People and the Books: 18 Classics of Jewish Literature, New York: WW Norton & Co.
- Levenson, Alan T., ed. 2012 The Wiley-Blackwell History of Jews and Judaism, Chicester: Wiley Blackwell.
- Schaefer, Peter. 2003. The History of the Jews in the Greco-Roman World: The Jews of Palestine from Alexander the Great to the Arab Conquest, London: Routledge.
- Schama, Simon. 2013. The Story of the Jews: Finding the Words: 1000 BC-1492 AD, New York: HarperCollins.
- 2017. The Story of the Jews: Belonging: 1492-1900, New York: HarperCollins.
- Schwartz, Seth. 2015. The Ancient Jews from Alexander to Muhammad, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.


Assessment Component/s Assessment Due Resit Availability Weighting
Presentation (15 Minutes) SEM1 No 20%
Essay SEM1 Yes 80%

LECTURER/S Dennis Mizzi

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It should be noted that all the information in the description above applies to study-units available during the academic year 2020/1. It may be subject to change in subsequent years.