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Monash University

Monash University Handbook 2010 Undergraduate - Unit

6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

FacultyFaculty of Arts
OfferedNot offered in 2010
Coordinator(s)Dr Michael Fagenblat


This unit explores the way God has been understood in the Jewish tradition from the Bible through to modernity. Particular attention will be given to the relation between theology and anthropology by considering how ideas about God relate to ideas about the human body, non-Jews, gender relations, religious experience and the purpose of religious life. Specifically modern responses to God in the wake of the Enlightenment, secularism and the Holocaust are also considered. The unit also provides an overview of most of the major genres of Jewish thought and literature (Bible, Midrash, Talmud, philosophy and Kabbalah) by focusing on the multiple understandings of God throughout Jewish history.


Upon completion of this unit, students will be expected to:

  1. understand the varieties of ways God has been depicted within Judaism
  2. understand the impact of external forces and cultural trends on Jewish thought
  3. demonstrate an understanding of the different genres of classical Jewish texts
  4. appreciate the interpretative or hermeneutical structure of the Jewish tradition
  5. be able to analyse the anthropological and political implications of various images of God
  6. understand key features of the challenge of, and Jewish responses to modernity
3rd year students will also be expected to
  1. understand the impact of the Holocaust on Jewish theology
  2. Demonstrate an ability to interpret and critically analyse selected texts.


Written work: 90% (4500 words)
Participation: 10%

Contact hours

1-hour lecture followed by a 90-minute seminar

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study

Religion and theology
Jewish civilisation


First year sequence in Jewish Civilisation or Religion and Theology or Philosophy; or 12 points at level 2 in Jewish Civilisation or Religion and Theology or Philosophy; or by special permission