Hist 282/JWST 234

History of the Jewish People I:

From the Bible to the end of the Middle Ages


Fall 2006

M/W 10-10:50 AM, Jimenez 0220

General Information

Hayim Lapin (Professor), 2101Q Francis Scott Key Hall, x54296, hlapin@umd.edu
Brian Phelan (Graduate instructor), slavirish@yahoo.com
Jeremy Best (Graduate instructor), jbest@umd.edu


Quizzes: You may expect weekly quizzes. These are designed to make sure that you are doing the readings, and should take no more than 5 to 10 minutes per session. In general these will be administered in section and will cover readings assigned for the Monday of the present week and Wednesday of the previous week. Quizzes will be worth two points each, and we will count the highest 8 quiz grades (total 16% of the semester grade)

Documentary Hypothesis Handout: This will be available by download (due week of 10/16) (4 pts.)

Writing Assignments: Two 5-7 page papers on assigned topics: (1) Assessing the origins of the Israelite Presence in Palestine/Canaan/Israel (week of 9/25) (2) An analysis of a medieval ducal for the Jews of Austria (week of 11/27). (20% each, 40%)

Exams: A midterm exam (Oct. 30) (15%), and a final exam (Dec. 20) (25%).


Download a copy of the midterm with answers

Note: The date for the final is set by the university. Exceptions can only be made in the case of urgent need (such as illness). Non-refundable airfare is not an urgent need; please plan your travel accordingly.


Required Texts

E. Barnavi, Historical Atlas of the Jewish People (New York: Random House, 1992).

J. Baskin, ed., Jewish Women in Historical Perspective 2 ed. (Detroit: Wayne State, 1999).
NOTE: Library has both editions; pages may differ.

M. Jaffee, Early Judaism 2 ed. (Bethesda: University Press of Maryland, 2006)
NOTE: This is a new and revised edition. The Library may not yet own the new edition

M. Cohen, Under Crescent and Cross (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1995).

Oxford Jewish Study Bible, ed. A.  Berlin, M. Z. Brettler (New York: Oxford University Press, 2003).      
For readings from the New Testament or the Apocrypha you can read the Revised Standard Version online at http://etext.lib.virginia.edu/rsv.browse.html.



Outline of Lectures

Discussion Sections


Introduction to the Course

Key Terms: Jews, Judaism, Diaspora, BC-AD/BCE-CE

· General introduction

· Map: Geographical overview


Labor Day: No Classes


Introduction to Biblical Israel

Jewish Study Bible, 2048-62
Barnavi, Atlas, 2-11

Key Terms: Patriarchs, Canaan, Bible, Israel, Mesopotamia, Merneptah Stele, Historical (or Historicizing) Myth


Historical Survey: Kingdoms of Judah and Israel (1000-586 BCE)

Barnavi, Atlas, 14-27

Joshua 9-20, 23; Judges 1 (traditions of conquest)
1 Samuel 6-12 [pp. 571-583]; 2 Samuel 1-5:3 [pp. 619-27]; 1 Kings 11:25-14:31 [pp. 699-707] (formation of kingdoms)
Psalm 89, 132 [pp. 1381-1384, 1431-2] (Davidic Ideology)

Key Terms: United Monarchy, Divided Monarchy, Saul, David, Solomon, Jeroboam, Rehoboam, Josiah, Davidic Dynasty

· Ezra 1 and Proclamation of Cyrus

· Proclamation of Cyrus

· Ezra 1 [Jewish Study Bible, 1671-1672]


Historical Survey: Exile and Restoration (597- ca 400 BCE)

Barnavi, Atlas, 28-33

2 Kings 17-19 [pp. 758-767] (collapse of northern kingdom)
2 Kings 23:36-25:30 [pp. 775-779]; Jeremiah 39-44 pp. [pp. 1005-1015] (collapse of southern kingdom; exile)
Ezra 1; 7; Nehemiah 10 [pp. 1671-1672, 1680-1682, 1704-1705] (10:1 is verse 9:38 in Christian Bibles); Zechariah 1-8 [pp. 1250-1258] (the return)
Proclamation of Cyrus

Key Terms: Assyria, Babylonia, Cyrus, Persian Empire, Zerubbabel, Ezra, Nehemiah, People of the Land," Babylonian Exile, Yehud (Judaea)


Archaeology, Historicity, and the Bible

Callaway, Miller, "The Settlement in Canaan," in H. Shanks, Ancient Israel (New York: Prentice Hall, 1999), 55-89

Key Terms: Infiltration Model, Conquest Model, Ethnogenesis Model, Jericho, Ai, Mesha Stone, Cyrus Cylinder

· Callaway and Miller, “Settlement of Canaan” (see lecture assignments)

· Joshua 9-20, 23

· Judges 1

· Preparation for writing Assignment I


Religion of Israel, Religion of the Bible

Jewish Study Bible, 2021-40
Nidich, “Portrayals of Women in the Hebrew Bible,” in Jewish Women in Historical Perspective, 25-45

Biblical Religion Handout

Key Terms: Documentary Hypothesis (J, P, D, E), Calendar, Sacrifice, Temple(s), Prophets/Prophecy, Covenant


Religion, Ritual, Myth: the Bible and the Ancient Near East

Hendel, in D. Biale, ed., Cultures of the Jews (New York: Schocken, 2002), 43-76

Psalms 74:12-17 (p. 1364), 89: 6-15 (pp. 1381-2)
Isaiah 51:9-11
Genesis 1 (pp. 12-14)
Enuma Elish (Babylonian Creation Epic) on defeat of Tiamat (scroll to Columns 4 and 5)

Key Terms: Enuma Elish, Gilgamesh Epic, Ba’al Epic (Ugarit), Kuntillet Ajrud, Biblical Creation and Battle Myths

Written Assignment I Due in Section

· Genesis 6:5-8:22

· Epic of Gilgamesh: Flood Story

· About the Gilgamesh Epic

· Compare elements of the flood in the ANE and Biblical traditon

· Writing assignment due


Historical Survey: Alexander to Antiochus Epiphanes (334- ca 170 BCE)

Barnavi, Atlas, 34-35, 38-41

Key Terms: Hellenism, Hellenization, Seleucids, Ptolemies, Polis


Yom Kippur, Jewish Holiday, Class Cancelled

· What is at stake in the Hasmonaean revolt?

· 1 Maccabees 1-5

· 2 Maccabees 3-5, 7


Historical Survey: Hasmonaean Revolt, establishment of Hasmonaean Dynasty (ca 170-63 BCE)

Barnavi, Atlas, 44-47

Key Terms: Jason, Menelaus, Matthaias, Judah "the Maccabee," Hasmonaean Dynasty


Historical Survey: Herod, the Roman Empire in Judaea (63 BCE-66CE)

Barnavi, Atlas, 48-51

Key terms: Herod, Pompey, Julius Caesar, Augustus, Sectarianism, Agrippa (I, II)

· Emperor Claudius and Josephus on the Status of Jews in Alexandria

· Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews 19.278-91 (handout)

· Claudius, Letter to the Alexandrians (handout)


Historical Survey: Origins and Spread of Diaspora (ca 600 BCE-100 CE)

Barnavi, Atlas, 36-37

Key terms: Egypt, Alexandria, Elephantine, Asia Minor, Babylonia, Synagogue, Proseukhe, Politeuma


Historical Survey: Revolts in Judaea (66-70 CE, 132-135 CE) and Diaspora (115-117 CE)

Barnavi, Atlas, 52-53, 56-57, 60-61
Tacitus's account of the Jews' revolt against Rome: Tacitus Histories 5.1-13

Cyrene, Cyprus, First Revolt (aka “Great” Revolt), Bar Kokhba Revolt, Diaspora Revolts: Cyrene, Egypt, Cyprus, Mesopotamia, Lusius Quietus

· Composition of biblical texts: Source criticism (handout)

· Reread Genesis 6:5-8:22 (the story of the flood

· Completed handout due


The "End of the Bible" and the "Birth of the Bible"

Jaffee, Early Judaism, Chapter 2, esp. 49-74
Jewish Study Bible, 1829-1844, 2072-2084

Key Terms: Canonization, Pseudepigrapha, Commentary (Pesher, Midrash), Dead Sea Scrolls, Septuagint, Apocrypha

Completed handout due in section


Sectarian and Religious Movements

Barnavi, Atlas, 42-43, 54-55

Key Terms: Pharisees, Saducees, Essenes, the Dead Sea Sect, Early Christianity

· Review for Midterm 




Revised Review Sheet


Midterm Exam

· Laws of the Christian emperors.
(1) Some examples;
(2) a summary. Beware of the editors' bias.


Historical Survey: Jews in Roman Palestine, Christianization of the Roman Empire, Jews under Sasanian Rule (135–633 CE)

Barnavi, Atlas, 56-61, 64-65
Jaffee, Early Judaism, Chapter 1 (review and prospect)

Key Terms: “Provincialization,” Constantine, Sasanians (Persia and Mesopotamia), Christianization


Principle Texts of the Rabbinic Movement

Barnavi, Atlas, 62-63
Jaffee, Early Judaism, Chapter 2, esp. 74-89
Jewish Study Bible, 1844-1876

Downloadable handout

Key Terms: Mishnah, Tosefta, Talmud (Yerushalmi--Palestinian, Bavli--Babylonian), Midrash, Aggadah, Halakhah

· Sample texts of rabbinic literature:
(1) Representative texts of civil law
(2) Topics and themes


Jewish Religion in Late Antiquity

Jaffee, Early Judaism, Chapters 3
Kraemer, “Jewish Women in the Diaspora World of Late Antiquity,” in Baskin,
Jewish Women, 46-72

Key Terms: Messiah, Exile, God, Torah, Women’s Religion and Leadership Roles


Creation of Rabbinic Culture

Jaffee, Early Judaism, Chapters, 4, 6
Wegner, “Image and Status of Women in Classical Rabbinic Judaism,” in Baskin,
Jewish Women, 73-100

Key Terms: Women--Chattel or Person?, Culture of Study/Discipleship, Hekhalot Mysticism (is it “rabbinic”?), Sefer Yetsirah (ditto!), Transformative Knowledge

· Texts of the rabbinic synagogue liturgy


large file!!

Ancient Synagogues and the Development of Jewish Liturgy

Barnavi, Atlas, 165-210
Jaffee, Early Judaism, Chapter 5

Synagogue, Shema, Amidah, Dura Europus, Helios


Historical Survey: Jews under Medieval Christian and Muslim Societies (ca 634-1500 CE)

Barnavi, Atlas, 78-79, 94-95, 104-111, 126-127 (Christian Societies); 74-75, 80-85, 92-93, 116-117, 124-125 (Islam)
Cohen, Under Crescent, Chapters 2-4 (pp. 17-75)

“Jewry Law,” Dhimmi, Charters, Corporate Society, Islam, Qur’an, Hadith, Servi Camerae

· "Charters" for Jewish Charters for communities in Christian Europe: Speyer 1084
· England 1190 (shortly after the massacre of Jews at York!); Austria 1244

· Pact of ‘Umar


“Under Crescent and Cross”

Cohen, Under Crescent, Chapters 5-8 (pp. 77-136)

Key Terms: “Pariah Peoples” (Max Weber), Economic Niches, Towns


Establishment of Rabbinic Culture; Divergent Cultures of Rabbinic Learning

Handout of texts
Jewish Study Bible, 1948-1990

Key Terms: Rashi, Tosafot, Maimonides, Gaon, Karaites

Assignment 2 due in section

· Sample texts from Maimonides and the Zohar:
(1) Maimonides' Code (Book of Knowledge)
(2) Maimonides, Guide, III.51 (Web)
(3) Zohar on Genesis 1, from transl. of D. Matt (with part of intro)

· Assignment 2 due


Violence and Coexistence

Cohen, Under Crescent, Chapters 9-10 (pp. 139-194)

Solomon b. Samson, Crusaders in Mainz,
Contemporary Christian Accounts

Key Terms: Crusades, Blood Libel, Host Desecration, Convivencia 


Medieval Jewish Religion, Culture, and Practice

Handout of texts

Barnavi, Atlas, 63, 86-91, 96-101 63, 112-3
Baskin, in Baskin, Jewish Women, 101-27
Melammed, in Baskin,
Jewish Women, 128-149

Key Terms:Polygyny/Monogamy, Dowry, Genizah, Resh Galuta (Exilarch), Responsa, Separad, Ashkenaz

· Review for Final



Medieval Jewish Philosophy and Mysticism

Barnavi, Atlas, 102-103, 144-145

Key Terms: Saadia Gaon, Maimonides, Maimonidean Controversy, Moses de Leon, Zohar, Sefer ha-Bahir, Aristotle, Platonism, Sefirot


Christian Iberia, Expulsions, New Horizons

Barnavi, Atlas, 114-115, 118-123, 130-133, 150-151

Key Terms: Conversos, Reconqista, Castille, Aragon, Portugal, Marranos, Massacres of 1391


Final Exam

8:00 AM

Set by the University: Subject to Change




Assignment 1: Israelite Entry into Canaan (5-7 pages, 1500-2000 wds.)

Read Callaway, Miller, “The Settlement in Canaan,” in H. Shanks, Ancient Israel (New York: Prentice Hall, 1999), 55–89 and the books of Joshua and Judges in the Bible. (1) Identify the theories of Israelite settlement that Callaway and Miller discuss, with special attention to the role that the intepretation of the books of Joshua and Judges play in these theories. Why (i.e., on the basis of what historical or archaeological evidence) are they unwilling to simply say that Joshua and Judges tell us how the Israelites came to occupy the land? (2) It should give your independent evaluation of the relationship of Joshua and Judges. For instance, does one book seem to presuppose a slow conquest or infiltration, while the other a rapid invasion? Your evaluation should identify at least three passages in support of the argument that Joshua and Judges reflect different historical traditions about Israelite settlement, and another three that might undermine the argument. Provide an explanation (a sentence or two per passage is enough) for how each passage does or does not support the argument. (Suggestion: Consider Jerusalem (also called Jebus) in Joshua 12:10, 15:63 (also 15:8, 18:28) and Judges 1:8 (and 19:10–15). Who controls Jerusalem, native Canaanites or Israelites, and to which tribe is it said to belong? How do these verses fit with the argument about Judges and Joshua?) (6 pts.) Based on your interpretation of Joshua and Judges, and your understanding of Callaway and Miller how should we as historians approach the historical question of Israelite settlement? Should we (like Callaway and Miller) generally prefer archaeological evidence to texts? Does your reading of Joshua and Judges offer an alternative view that differs from Callaway and Miller’s? If so, how do you address the problems raised by Callaway and Miller?

Due 9/25

Assignment 2: European Charters for Jews (5-7 pages, 1500-2000 wds).

Read the charter of the Jews of the Duchy of Austria, 1244 (http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/jewish/1244-jews-austria.html). This charter is not unique, but it is important in part because it served as a model for later charters in Eastern Europe. What evidence does this document offer for the history of the Jews in Europe in the 13th century? Assignment: Write an essay that addresses the following issues. (1) According to the document, can you say why the duke of Austria is interested in having Jews in his territories? (2) Assuming this document is the product of negotiation, what issues seem to be of greatest concern to Jews? (3) Based on this document what kinds of relationships (personal? business?) are there between Jews and gentiles? How segregated from the larger society are the Jews? (4) Compare this text to other documents laying out the status of the Jews: In what way(s) is this document similar or different from the 1084 charter for Jews of Speyer, for instance, or the Pact of Umar? In each case illustrate your answers by citing relevant passages from the texts. (5) Your discussion should address Mark Cohen's assessment of the status of Jews in medival Christendom and under Islam: How does Cohen's thesis help (or hinder) your understanding othe 1244 document from Austria or other examples that you cite?

Due 11/27