Faculty of Arts

Monash University

Undergraduate - Unit

This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2015 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.

print version

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.

FacultyFaculty of Arts
Organisational UnitAustralian Centre for Jewish Civilisation
OfferedCaulfield First semester 2015 (Day)
Clayton First semester 2015 (Day)
Coordinator(s)Mr Paul Forgasz


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.


Within semester assessment: 70%
Exam: 30%

Workload requirements

Minimum total expected workload to achieve the learning outcomes for this unit is 144 hours per semester typically comprising a mixture of scheduled learning activities and independent study. A unit requires on average three/four hours of scheduled activities per week. Scheduled activities may include a combination of teacher directed learning, peer directed learning and online engagement.

See also Unit timetable information

Chief examiner(s)

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