The B.A. in Jewish Studies is designed to exist alongside the B.A. in Hebrew. The Hebrew B.A. deals primarily with languages and literature, with study of Jewish culture and history as the necessary background. The B.A. in Jewish Studies also includes an element of language study, but its primary focus is on the history, religion and culture of the Jews from biblical to modern times.
The course is designed to appeal to applicants from diverse backgrounds and with different interests, ranging from the Hebrew Bible to modern Israeli politics, from the developments within Judaism at the time of Jesus and the Talmud to the history of Jews under Islam and in modern Europe, from the Dead Sea Scrolls to modern Hebrew poetry.
Applicants are not required to have any previous knowledge of Hebrew or Jewish Studies. The first three terms comprise intensive class instruction in the Hebrew language in all its main phases, leading to the first public examination (Prelims) which is identical to that in the B.A. in Hebrew. It is thus easy for applicants for the B.A. in Hebrew to transfer to the B.A. in Jewish Studies, and vice versa, after three terms, if they wish.
Students continue to read texts in Hebrew throughout the course, but the second and third years of the course involve detailed examination of particular aspects of the history and tradition of the Jews. Teaching is carried out in lectures, classes and especially in weekly tutorials, for which students are expected to prepare by intensive reading and by writing essays. When combined with personal tuition, this should enable students to develop an informed and independent point of view.
For further information please see the Course Handbook and Course Background documents, which are available here. The Course Handbook is a comprehensive introduction to all aspects of the BA in Jewish Studies. The short Course Background document provides preliminary information, including some suggested reading: