Spring 2024

Books and Readers in Judaism

Listed in: Religion, as RELI-163


Matthew Westermayer (Section 01)


What is “scripture?” What does “literature” mean in ancient Judaism? This course examines Jewish literature from the late Second Temple period until the Rabbinic period, with a critical focus on the form and materiality of books and reading culture. We will study the major changes in Jewish books from Hellenistic times into the late Roman period and Christian era. Our primary aim is to study how books, as material artifacts, helped shape how readers created meaning. Students will study the formation of the Hebrew Bible, the translation of the Bible into Greek, “pseudepigraphal” works (falsely attributed), the Dead Sea Scrolls, and Rabbinic Judaism (such as the Mishnah, Tosefta, and the Talmud). This is a history of Judaism that places the developments in literature into the larger context of the rise of book culture in the premodern West. 

Spring semester. Visiting Assistant Professor Westermayer.

RELI 163 - LEC

Section 01
M 12:30 PM - 1:50 PM FOHA 120
W 12:30 PM - 1:50 PM FOHA 120