Jewish Studies at Vanderbilt is an interdisciplinary program with classes in Jewish history, religion, language, philosophy, politics, culture, society, music, art, and literature across continents and over three millennia. The program brings together faculty from across the university to explore Jews and Judaism from biblical times to the present. The study of Judaism is integral to understanding crucial moments in the formation of Christianity and Islam as well as different cultures of the modern Middle East, Europe, and America.
Our program reflects Vanderbilt’s commitment to advancing the understanding of diverse cultures and traditions. Students of all backgrounds will find in Jewish Studies a wide array of approaches to Jewish experiences and ask larger questions about cultural and religious identity, minority experience, and diasporic community.
Students shape their 30-hour major or 18-hour minor in Jewish Studies around their own interests. Majors and minors take a foundational course, either Introduction to Jewish Studies or Introduction to Judaism, and majors develop proficiency in Hebrew or another language associated with the Jewish people during the course of their long history.
By combining their Jewish Studies major with coursework at Peabody College, students can prepare for careers in Jewish education, community development, public policy, counseling, and organizational leadership.
The honors program in Jewish Studies affords superior students a more intensive concentration within their major field. Through Jewish Studies, qualified seniors may access graduate courses that would otherwise have been unavailable to them.
The interdisciplinary nature of Jewish Studies provides an
excellent academic foundation for a variety of rewarding career paths including professional schools, such as law, medicine, and business, and public administration, government service, education, communal service, Foreign Service, ministry, and rabbinate, as well as graduate studies in religion, international relations, history, literature, foreign languages, classics, social work, social science, and education. It sharpens the analytic, linguistic, textual, and methodological tools necessary for advanced research and teaching.
The faculty members in the Program in Jewish Studies represent a wide range of disciplines, including history, anthropology, sociology, religious studies, philosophy, literature, and art. Recent faculty publications include analyses of Jesus’ parables, of Maimonides’ texts, of Jewish life in the Ottomon Empire, even of the history of Jews and dogs, among many others.
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