The following foundations,
individuals, and agencies
have given generously:

Eli Reinhard

Paul & Sheri Robbins

Eda & Joseph Pell

Sherri Sager

Temple Emanu-El
of San José, California

Jewish Federation
of Silicon Valley

Middle East Studies Consortium

San José State University
Jewish Studies Program
Victoria G. Harrison, Ph.D., Coordinator

Jewish Studies Courses
Fall 2013

Jewish Studies is an interdisciplinary minor program, allowing students to take courses within two colleges and seven departments. Please see the minor program pages for required and optional courses. Courses are also available to non-matriculating students through Open University.


Upper Division Courses

Focus on the Middle East every Monday and Wednesday this fall!


Hist 104 Holy Land
Jonathan Roth
MW 1:30-2:45 DMH 167

In this course we will cover the history of the land known successively as Canaan, Israel, Judea and Palestine—the Holy Land of the Jews, Christians and Muslims.  The course will begin in the Neolithic period, around 10,000 years ago and survey what was happening in this small region through history, up to the present day.  In each successive era, we will look at the geography, ethnicity, religion, culture, economy and society of the Holy Land, in addition to the political events that affected it.  You will read primary sources dating from various periods, including the Amarna Letters, the Bible, Josephus, Christian pilgrim texts, Arab historians of the Middle Ages, European travelogues, and documents relating to Zionist movement and the establishment of the State of Israel.  You will learn how to critically read these sources, and challenged to think about the “Why” of the history of the Holy Land. In addition, you will improve your reading and writing skills.


Hist 103 Modern Middle East
George Vasquez
MW 12:00-1:15, DMH 167

This course surveys the modern Middle East since the invasion of Egypt by Napoleon at the end of the 18th century to the present day. It will focus on several major issues which have defined the region and continue to be of vital concern: imperialism and the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire; World War One, the Mandate System, and the growth of nationalism and secularism versus fundamentalist Islam; the formation of Israel in 1948 and the ensuing Israeli-Palestinian conflict; the Iranian Revolution and the rule of the Ayatollahs; U.S./Middle East relations and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as the quest for oil; and the changing status of women in the Middle East.

Reasonable and comprehensive answers will be sought for the following questions: What repercussions occurred as the result of the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire? Is there a legitimate Arab nationalism? What was the Mandate System? What were the origins of the Palestinian/Israel conflict? How have leading scholars and intellectuals regarded Islam and its detractors? Why did Egyptian nationalism fail? What lessons can Turkey teach nationalists and secularists? Was the Iranian Revolution inevitable? Is the U.S. on a self-destruction mission in the region? Why are Americans hated so much? What chances are there for a western-type democracy in the region? What is the role of women in the Middle East and how can it be enhanced?

Lower Division Courses

Genesis 1RELS/JWSS 90
Bible History and Literature

Prof. Brent Walters
MW 12:00-1:15 pm, SH 241
TR 3:00-4:15, DMH 226B

This introductory course on the Bible reconstructs the original context of the biblical record, covering the social setting of the Jews and early Christians in light of the cultural and religious environment that influenced the writers of these sacred writings.

Discussing literal and figurative uses of language, the class studies biblical nar­rative, prophecy, poetry, wisdom, apocalypse, gospel, parable, and epistle.



Hebrew Courses

The Hebrew program is directed to people interested in the Bible, religious studies, archeology, linguistics, learning a foreign language, or learning about ancient and modern Israel.

Upper Division Courses

Bible PapyrusHebrew 102A
Advanced Hebrew

Prof. Rina Katzen
TR 3:00–4:15, CL 231

In this course students read Hebrew magazines, newspapers, and other literature, as they continue studying the language and grammar at an advanced level.

Lower Division Courses

Hebrew Courses 
Prof. Rina Katzen

The Hebrew program is directed to people interested in the Bible, religious studies, archeology, linguistics, learning a foreign language, or learning about ancient and modern Israel.

Hebrew 10A
Elementary Hebrew
TR 10:30-11:45, CL 231

Hebrew 15A
Intermediate Hebrew
TR 1:30-2:45, CL 231