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JWM5020 - Between Homeland and Holy Land: Israel in Jewish Thought

12 points, SCA Band 1, 0.250 EFTSL

Postgraduate Faculty of Arts

Leader: Nathan Wolski, Michael Fagenblat and Melanie Landau


Clayton Second semester 2007 (Day)


What is the place of Israel in Jewish thought? How is Israel both homeland and holy land? How has Israel been figured in Jewish literature and law? This unit seeks to explore the place of Israel both in different periods of Jewish history and in different genres of Jewish literature. This unit begins with an examination of classical Jewish sources - the Bible, Talmud and medieval Jewish writers - and then moves to an examination of classical and post-classical Zionist thinkers. Having gained this broad historical overview, we seek to explore the continuities and ruptures that mark Zionist thought.


On successful completion of this subject students will be expected to demonstrate an ability to:

  1. Understand the place of Israel in different strata of the classical Jewish tradition - biblical, rabbinic and medieval.
  2. Appreciate the continuities and differences between these strata.
  3. Analyse and discuss the key 'Israel texts' of the Jewish tradition.
  4. Demonstrate familiarity with the thought of classical Zionist thinkers.
  5. Understand the place of Zionist thought within the continuum of the Jewish tradition.
  6. Understand more recent trends in Zionist thought - ranging from post-classical zionism to post-zionism.

Students successfully completing JWM5020 will be expected to demonstrate in addition:
  1. Advanced skills in analysing primary sources and in developing an independent position regarding the meaning and significance of these sources.


Research proposal and paper (6000 words): 60%
Seminar paper (1000 words): 10%
Comparative analysis of either two classical or two modern "Israel texts" of the Jewish tradition (2000 words): 20%
Seminar preparation and participation: 10%

Contact hours

One 2-hour seminar and one 1-hour tutorial