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National College Credit Recommendation Service

Board of Regents  |  University of the State of New York

Maalot Educational Network | Evaluated Learning Experience

Jewish Intellectual History from the Mishna until Modern Times (HIS399)


Classroom: 42 hours (13 weeks); Distance/Hybrid: Varies. 

Traditional classroom-based offered at Maalot, Jerusalem, and other authorized locations. Distance learning and hybrid options available.
September 2009 - Present
Instructional delivery format: 
Traditional classroom model
Online/distance learning
Hybrid course/exam
Learner Outcomes: 

Upon successful completion of the course, students will be able to: discuss decisive events and personalities in Jewish history from 200-1900 and their historical and philosophical context as part of wider global historical events; evaluate the development of Jewish literary and intellectual creativity with particular emphasis on halakhic literature across the last 1800 years, the authorship of major works of Jewish scholarship in that period; and show mastery of how the issues, movements and ideas shaping the Jewish world arose in a larger historical context.


Major topics include: intellectual history of Judaism from the Mishna until modern times; the creation and function of the Mishna and Talmud; the era of the Geonim, the formation of Sefardi and Ashkenazi Jewry under Moslem and Frankish rule; the “Golden Age” of Spain and its major Torah figures; the Halachic Codification of Talmudic law through the Medieval period; Ashkenazi Jewry,  the Crusades and major Torah figures; Sefardi and Ashkenazi Schools of thought in Torah Commentary – ‘Peshat vs Drash’ and Rationalist versus Non-Rationalist approaches; the Jewish communities of Provence; the Maimonidean controversy; late Medieval Spanish and Ashkenazi schools of thought; the Expulsions of the  14th and 15th Centuries and the creation of the modern Diaspora; the writing of the Shulchan Aruch – historical, philosophical and theological underpinnings; the emergence of Lurianic Kabbalist thought, commentators on the Shulchan Aruch; False Messiahs and their effect on the modern Jewish world; Reform and the Enlightenment – the Jewish response to Napoleon; reaction against Reform – the philosophy of Rav S. R. Hirsch, the emergence of Chassidu; reactions against Chassidut – the Vilna Gaon and the Mitnagdim, Haskala; the emergence of the Yeshiva and Mussar movements, Zionism – religious and secular; Modern Orthodoxy and Torah U’Madda. Topics may vary. Methods of instruction include lecture, discussion, and textual preparation. Prerequisite: Introduction to Jewish History.

Credit recommendation: 

In the lower division baccalaureate/associate degree category OR in the upper division baccalaureate degree category, 3 semester hours in Judaic Studies, History or Sociology (10/10) (8/15 revalidation) (3/21 revalidation).