Judaisms in Transition: Crises and Innovations

Module titleJudaisms in Transition: Crises and Innovations
Module codeTHE1104
Academic year2019/0
Module staff

Dr David Tollerton (Convenor)

Professor Siam Bhayro (Convenor)

Professor Siam Bhayro (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Description - summary of the module content

Module description

This module focuses upon the changes in Jewish thought that have developed out of historical crises. The case studies considered span antiquity to the present day and highlight the evolution in Jewish identities and tradition. They include the destruction of the first and second temples, the rise of Christianity and Islam, the Enlightenment, the rise of Hasidism and Zionism.

Module aims - intentions of the module

This module will introduce the development of Jewish identities and traditions from antiquity to the present day. We will focus on a series of case studies, including the destruction of the first and second temples, the rise of Christianity and Islam, the Enlightenment, the rise of Hasidism and Zionism.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Demonstrate, with guidance, a basic knowledge and understanding of Jewish history
  • 2. Demonstrate an understanding of the impact of key moments/events on the development of Judaism
  • 3. Demonstrate a basic knowledge and understanding of the socio-religious context of pivotal crises in Jewish history
  • 4. Demonstrate awareness of how personal and communal identities and motivations are shaped by socio-religious contexts and how important such identities are

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 5. Begin, with guidance, to demonstrate comprehension of some of the textual expressions of the case study Jewish thinkers and communities
  • 6. Begin, with guidance, to employ a variety of complementary methods of study: historical-critical; socio-religious; literary; theological and ideological
  • 7. Evaluate and analyse, with guidance, a diversity of primary and secondary sources

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 8. Undertake guided work within broad guidelines
  • 9. Collect and categorise information relevant to particular essays, with guidance
  • 10. Demonstrate the ability to summarise information accurately and fairly
  • 11. Make use of selected written sources, with clear guidance
  • 12. Communicate clearly in writing
  • 13. Participate appropriately in a learning group
  • 14. Discuss sensitive issues with appropriate generosity

Syllabus plan

Syllabus plan

Whilst the content may vary from year to year, it is envisioned that it will cover some or all of the following topics:

  • The destruction of the First Temple
  • Antiochus IV and the Hasmoneans
  • The destruction of the Second Temple
  • Responses to Christianity
  • Responses to Islam
  • Transition session
  • Hasidism
  • The Enlightenment
  • Orthodoxy, conservatism and reform
  • Women in modern Judaisms
  • Modern Zionism

This module will comprise eleven two-hour classes that will include lecture material, guided discussion, the presentation of various primary sources with secondary analysis, and the regular provision of written handouts. Feedback on the formative essay will be provided in class and in tutorials. Guidance will be provided concerning directed reading and private study. You will be expected to read at least one chapter from a secondary source in preparation for each class.

Learning and teaching

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled learning and teaching22Lectures (11 x 2 hours)
Scheduled learning and teaching11Seminars
Guided independent study117Private study


Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Essay2000 words1-12Written

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Essay1002000 words1-12Written feedback


Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
EssayEssay1-12Referral/Deferral period

Re-assessment notes

Deferral – if you miss an assessment for certificated reasons judged acceptable by the Mitigation Committee, you will normally be either deferred in the assessment or an extension may be granted. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of deferral will not be capped and will be treated as it would be if it were your first attempt at the assessment.

Referral – if you have failed the module overall (i.e. a final overall module mark of less than 40%) you will be required to submit a further assessment as necessary. If you are successful on referral, your overall module mark will be capped at 40%.


Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

  • J.J. Collins, Introduction to the Hebrew Bible (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2004)
  • H. Eshel, The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Hasmonean State (Cambridge: Eerdmans, 2008)
  • J.C. VanderKam, An Introduction to Early Judaism (Cambridge: Eerdmans, 2001)
  • P. Mendes-Flohr and J. Reinharz (eds.), The Jew in the Modern World (Oxford: OUP, 1995)
  • H. Rubinstein, Jews in the Modern World: A History Since 1750 (New York: OUP, 2002)
  • N. de Lange and M. Freud-Kandel (eds.), Modern Judaism (Oxford: OUP, 2005)

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Module has an active ELE page

Key words search


Credit value15
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites


Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date