Faculty of Arts

Monash University

Undergraduate - Unit

This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2014 only. For students planning to study the unit, please refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your course or area of study.

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6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered, or view unit timetables.

FacultyFaculty of Arts
Organisational UnitAustralian Centre for Jewish Civilisation
OfferedCaulfield First semester 2014 (Day)
Clayton First semester 2014 (Day)
Coordinator(s)Mr Paul Forgasz


Previously coded HSY1120


This unit deals with the social, cultural, political and economic interactions of Jews with Christians and Muslims from antiquity to the Enlightenment. In a contemporary world that frames these relations as a 'clash of civilisations', the course retraces the shifting relationships between the three monotheistic traditions, emphasising Jewish life in the medieval period under Christian and Islamic rule. We will start this course with the foundational texts of the three monotheistic religions, examining how these societies defined themselves and others. Moving to the medieval and early modern periods we will explore the moments of interactions between Christians, Jews and Muslims-the shared texts, spaces, and intellectual ideas that united all three societies. Even in moments of extreme violence, we see evidence of coexistence alongside conflict. This course will conclude with the dawn of Enlightenment thought in Europe, and will consider how majority cultures treated and thought about minorities such as Jews and Muslims, revealing notions of tolerance and national homogeneity that carry implications for contemporary European society.


Students completing this unit will have the ability to:

  1. Trace the way Jews, Christians and Muslims have defined their identities against each other.
  2. Understand the interaction between Jews, Muslims and Christians in medieval Europe.
  3. Compare the Jewish experience of medieval Christian and Islamic rule respectively.
  4. Analyse the material, social, cultural and religious life of Jewish communities in Europe and the Mahgreb.
  5. Analyse the impact of modern nationalism, laying the groundwork for European notions about equality, freedom, and citizenship.


Short essay (1000 words): 20%
Long essay (2500 words): 40%
Exam: 30%
Class Participation: 10%

Chief examiner(s)

Workload requirements

3 hours (2 lectures and 1 tutorial) per week

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