13722 - History of Judaism (1)

Course Unit Page

Academic Year 2019/2020

Learning outcomes

By the end of the course the student will possess the instruments needed to know the history, the religion and the culture of the Jews in the modern era according to a periodization that goes from 1492 to 1917. He or she will also be able to communicate in oral and written form on one or more interpretative texts, distinguishing between the diverse historiographic orientations and between the documentary materials of various provenances. He or she will be inclined towards a critical re-elaboration and will hone independent judgmental skills regarding complex issues.

Course contents

The course will provide the student with a basic knowledge of the history and culture of the Jews.

Topics of the general course:

1. The Jews in history

2. Biblical Judaism

3. The rabbinic culture and the mystical currents

4. From the Spanish period to the era of the ghettoes

5. Judaic emancipation and Nation States

6. Empires and emancipation

7. Chassidism

8. Zionism

9. Shoah

10. The State of Israel

11. The Israeli-Palestianian conflict

12. Judaism nowadays

The additional three lessons will be dedicated to the Jewish political thought


For the non-attending students:

1. P. Haddad, L'ebraismo spiegato ai miei amici, Firenze, Giuntina

2. A. Foa, Ebrei in Europa. Dalla peste nera all'emancipazione, Roma-Bari, Laterza, 2001 or A. Foa, Diaspora: storia degli ebrei nel Novecento, Bari, Laterza, 2009

3. One of the texts listed above:

G. Filoramo (a cura di), Ebraismo, Roma.-Bari, Laterza 2007;

A. Steinsaltz, Cosè il Talmud, Firenze, Giuntina

Y.H. Yerushalmi, Assimilazione e antisemitismo razziale: i modelli iberico e tedesco, Firenze, Giuntina

M. Caffiero, Storia degli ebrei nell'Italia moderna: dal Rinascimento alla Restaurazione, Roma, Carocci

M. Buber, Immagine del bene e del male, Milano, Gribaudi

A. Marzano, Storia dei sionismi. Lo Stato degli ebrei da Herzl a oggi, Roma, Carocci

L'Italia racconta Israele: 1948-2018, a cura di M. Toscano, Roma, Viella

C. Vercelli, Il conflitto israelo-palestinese, Roma-Bari, Laterza


G. Filoramo (ed.), Ebraismo, Roma.-Bari, Laterza 2007

Attending students, instead of the text listed at no. 3, will read the book by M. Walzer, Esodo e rivoluzione, Milan, Feltrinelli, 2004

Teaching methods

The course will be delivered by lectures.

Assessment methods

The assessment will concentrate particularly on the skill displayed by the student in handling the sources and material in the exam bibliography and his ability to find and use information and examples to illustrate and correlate the various themes and problems addressed in the course.

The assessment will thus examine the student's:

- factual knowledge of the subject;

- ability to summarise and analyse themes and concepts;

- familiarity with the terminology associated with the subject and his ability to use it effectively.

Top marks will be awarded to a student displaying an overall understanding of the topics discussed during the lectures, combined with a critical approach to the material and a confident and effective use of the appropriate terminology.

Average marks will be awarded to a student who has memorized the main points of the material and is able to summarise them satisfactorily and provide an effective critical commentary, while failing to display a complete command of the appropriate terminology.

A student will be deemed to have failed the exam if he displays significant errors in his understanding and failure to grasp the overall outlines of the subject, together with a poor command of the appropriate terminology

Teaching tools

Some geographical maps will be available to the students relating to the Jewish settlements in history. These can be found on the lecturer’s web page.

Office hours

See the website of Francesca Sofia