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Introduction to Judaism



The identity of contemporary Jews is greatly diverse and consists of various elements including religion, culture and ethnicity. Starting with the present and reaching back towards the past, this course will offer a survey of the various forms of Judaism, the holidays and the liturgy.

Course objectives

  • The student will gain insight into the ever changing identities and manifestations of Jews and Judaism.

  • The student realizes that terms such as religious or secular do not sufficiently cover the varied and ever-changing lifestyles and forms of expression in Judaism.

  • The student is challenged tot hink about models used in the study of religion.

  • The answers to the exam questions should be clearly formulated and well argumented.



Mode of instruction

  • Lectures

Course Load

  • Total course load: 140 hours (5 ecs x 28 hours).

  • Hours spent on attending lectures and seminars: 2 hours per week x 13 weeks = 26 hours

  • Time for studying the compulsory literature 55

  • Time to write a paper (including reading / research) and prepare for the exam 59

Assessment method

Assessment and grading method (in percentages):

  • a paper relating to the museum excursion to be handed in mid-semester 40%

  • written examination with essay questions at the end of the semester 60%

The minimum grade for both the paper and the examination is 5.5. An average of 6 is the minimum passing grade for the course.


Blackboard will be used for registration as well as for course information, the weekly schedule, announcements, assignments and reading material.

Reading list

  • E. van Voolen, Joods leven thuis en in de synagoge (Parthenon 2011) entire book.

  • M. Satlow, Creating Judaism. History, Tradition, Practice (Columbia University Press 2006) entire book.
    These books will be made available on the reserved book shelf in the University Library. However, as they are to be read in their entirety, students are expected to purchase them.


Registration through uSis. Not registered, means no permission to attend this course. See also the ‘Registrationprocedures for classes and examinations’ for registration deadlines and more information on how to register

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

A la carte


Participation in the excursion to the Jewish Historical Museum as well as attending the film screenings are mandatory