REL4710 Jews & Judaism in the Modern World

Course Overview

Educational Level: Upper undergraduate, Bachelor
Credit Hours: 3 Credits
Instructor: Dr. Kevin O’Brien

Course Description:

Surveys and considers the achievements and contributions as well as the traumas and catastrophes experienced by Jewish individuals and groups from the late 18th century until now. Achievements and contributions of Jews and Judaism include: the rise of economic capitalism; political socialism; discoveries of theoretical physics; advances in applied medicine; higher literary criticism; mass communication; popular entertainment. The collective Jewish experience in modernity also includes their unique exposure to 20th century totalitarian movementsfascist, Nazi, and Stalinist including the horrors of the Holocaust. Many individuals who define the modern worlds economic, social and intellectual traditions are Jewish: the Rothschilds, Marx, Einstein, Freud, Kafka, Woody Allen and George Soros. Through reading, reflection, writing and discussion students will learn about the impact of Jews and Judaism upon the modern world and how modernity has affected them for better and for worse. Missional Christian learners will understand and appreciate the place of Jews and Judaism in their own context so that meaningful interactions can be shared with them.

How This Course Benefits Students:

The Jewish religion is not only a shared belief system but also a shared experience and identity. This course can not replicate this identity and experience but it can inform students of the ways Jewish identity has been shaped by experience and introduce learners to the personalities whose lives, contributions and stories were shaped by and influenced the modern Jewish world.

Why This Course Is Important:

Missional Christians are well served by familiarity with and appreciation of the contributions of Jewish people in contemporary culture.