Medieval and Early Modern Jewish Studies

Professors

Raymond P. Scheindlin, Jewish Literatureon leave fall 2014

Associate Professors

Eitan Fishbane, Jewish Religious Thought

Benjamin R. Gampel, Jewish History

Robert Harris, Bible and Medieval Jewish Exegesis

Stefanie B. Siegmund, Jewish History and Jewish Gender and Women's Studies

Affiliated Professors

Neil Danzig, Talmud and Rabbinics and Geonic Literature

Walter Herzberg, Bible

Marjorie Lehman, Talmud and Rabbinics

Vivian Mann, Jewish Art and Visual Culture 

Jonathan Milgram, Talmud and Rabbinics

The program in Medieval and Early Modern Jewish Studies allows students to study Jewish history, literature, religious thought, art, and material culture in a multidisciplinary and integrated framework. Hebrew poetry, rabbinic law, communal life, women's history, the visual arts, philosophy and Kabbalah are just some of the subjects that may be studied. Students concentrate on complementary aspects of Jewish culture and society while learning to apply different disciplinary methodologies to deepen their understanding of this important historical period. The Jewish Theological Seminary's Special Collections of rare books and manuscripts are an extraordinary resource for students, who are invited to use them for their guided research. 

Available Degrees

Bachelor of Arts

Admission Requirements for List College

Requirements for the BA major in Medieval and Early Modern Jewish Studies (for List College students who matriculated in fall 2012 or later): 30 credits, chosen in consultation with the major advisor, of which 3 credits may be double-counted for a List College core requirement, as follows:

  • 21 credits (7 courses), distributed across the disciplines (e.g., medieval and early modern history; medieval Hebrew literature and liturgy; religious thought; medieval or early modern rabbinic law, biblical exegesis, and Aggadah; and medieval or early modern visual and material cultures) and advanced language study. These studies should ordinarily begin with either MED 1011 / HIS 1011 (Medieval Jewish History) or MED 1012 / JTH 1012 (Medieval Jewish Thought and Theology).
  • 6 credits (2 courses) of cognate study in medieval or early modern Christianity or Islam, or related history, literature, etc., to be chosen in consultation with the advisor. These courses may be taken at Columbia University, Barnard College, or elsewhere with approval. 
  • 3 credits (1 course) senior/capstone seminar (or Senior Honors Thesis, for those admitted)
  • Of the above-listed courses taken at JTS, at least one must be listed or cross-listed as JGW (Jewish Gender and Women's Studies).
  • Of the above-listed courses taken at JTS, at least one must be a Hebrew-text intensive seminar.

Note: 3–6 credits (1 or 2 courses) of Advanced Hebrew (Heb 5301 or 5302) or advanced study in another language (e.g., Arabic, Latin) may be counted toward the 21 credits, with permission of the advisor.

Search the Course Catalog for MED courses.

Master of Arts

Admission Requirements for The Graduate School

Requirements for the MA degree in Medieval and Early Modern Jewish Studies

Courses
Students entering the program take the following prerequisite courses if they have not had the equivalent previously:

  • One course in medieval history
  • One course in medieval literature
  • One course in medieval philosophy

Students are permitted to register for courses counting toward the degree while fulfilling these prerequisites. In addition to courses required of all students in The Graduate School, 30 graduate credits are required as follows:

21 credits (7 courses) to be distributed among at least 3 of the following 5 broad subject areas:

  • Medieval and early modern Jewish history
  • Medieval and early modern Hebrew literature (e.g., poetry, liturgy, Midrash, Parshanut, Aggadah)
  • Medieval and early modern Jewish thought (e.g., philosophy, ethics, or Kabbalah)
  • Medieval and early modern rabbinic law
  • Medieval and early modern visual and material culture

Note:
Credit toward the 21 credits may be given for up to two semesters of Advanced Hebrew in order to enable students to take Hebrew-text intensive courses. Of the above-listed courses taken at JTS, at least one must be listed or cross-listed as JGW (Jewish Gender and Women's Studies).  

3 credits (1 course) multidisciplinary seminar is required (in years when such a seminar is not offered, this requirement may be fulfilled through independent study)

6 credits (2 courses) in related medieval or early modern studies, taken at a neighboring institution in the Consortium Program, or, with permission, in the advanced study of other relevant medieval languages such as Latin or Arabic. All courses are determined in consultation with the advisor.

Comprehensive Examination
An examination on selected topics in each of three disciplinary areas, chosen in consultation with the advisor at the end of the first year of studies.

Search the Course Catalog for MED courses.

Doctor of Hebrew Literature

Admission Requirements for The Graduate School.


Degree Requirements for the Doctor of Hebrew Literature

Courses
In addition to courses required of all students in The Graduate School, 30 graduate credits beyond the MA are required. Courses are selected in consultation with the doctoral advisor. Students who have not received an MA in Medieval and Early Modern Jewish Studies may be required to complete additional courses as prerequisite work. All courses will be determined through consultation with the advisor.

Comprehensive Examination
Upon satisfactory completion of all course work, students must take an oral examination on selected topics in three disciplinary areas (e.g., history, philosophy, and literature) and on the area of the candidate's dissertation, including a review of the secondary literature in the area of the proposed dissertation.

Dissertation
An original monograph-length dissertation on a topic in medieval or early modern Jewish studies, to be approved by a faculty committee.

Search the Course Catalog for MED courses.

Doctor of Philosophy

Admission Requirements for The Graduate School.

Students interested in pursuing a PhD in Medieval and Early Modern Jewish Studies apply to The Graduate School, expressing their interest in that area.

Degree Requirements for the PhD in Medieval and Early Modern Jewish Studies

Languages
In addition to languages required of all students in The Graduate School, proficiency must be demonstrated in two primary source languages (Hebrew, Arabic, or Latin), and two secondary source languages (German and French, Spanish, or Italian).

Courses
In addition to courses required of all students in The Graduate School, at least 30 graduate credits beyond the MA are required. Courses are selected in consultation with the doctoral advisor. Students who have not received an MA in Medieval or Early Modern Jewish Studies may be required to complete additional courses as prerequisite work. All courses are determined in consultation with the advisor.

Comprehensive Examination
Upon satisfactory completion of all course work, candidates for the PhD must take a comprehensive examination consisting of written and oral parts. The written part consists of four essays, one in each of three disciplinary studies (e.g., history, literature, and philosophy) and a fourth in a cognate subject. After the candidate has had the opportunity to study the examiners' comments on the written part, the oral examination ensues. The four essays may be written in separate sittings spread over a semester.

Dissertation
A faculty committee must approve the dissertation proposal. The dissertation will be an original monograph-length dissertation that demonstrates the candidate's ability to pursue original research in at least two disciplinary areas, to be approved by a faculty committee after an oral defense.

Search the Course Catalog for MED courses.