Hebrew Bible and Its Interpretation: Medieval Scriptural Interpretation

Professors

Alan M. Cooper
Stephen A. Geller
David Marcus (on sabbatical fall 2013)
Benjamin D. Sommer

Associate Professor

Robert A. Harris  

Assistant Professors

Stephen P. Garfinkel
Walter Herzberg
Amy Kalmanofsky

Adjunct Assistant Professors

Barat Ellman
Job Jindo
Alison Joseph

Degrees

Bachelor of Arts
Master of Arts
Doctor of Hebrew Literature
Doctor of Philosophy
 

  

Bachelor of Arts

Admission Requirements

See List College Admissions requirements.

Degree Requirements

For Medieval Scriptural Interpretation Majors

30 credits (generally 10 courses), beyond the core-curriculum requirements, chosen in consultation with the major advisor, distributed as follows:

  • BIB 5013: Parshanut: Pentateuch with Rashi (or equivalent; 3 credits)
  • BIB 3307: Introduction to Miqra'ot Gedolot or BIB 5826: Classical Medieval Commentaries (or equivalent; 3 credits)
  • 9 additional credits in Medieval Scriptural Interpretation
  • HIS 1011 (or equivalent; 3 credits)
  • MID 3944: Midrash for Majors or MID 5022: Introduction to Rabbinic Narrative (Aggadah) [3 credits]
  • One Midrash course beyond the beginner's level (3 credits)
  • One course in the cognate literature of the period (e.g., Karaite, Christian, or Islamic exegetical literature) or in the social history of the period (taken at JTS, Columbia University, Barnard College, or Union Theological Seminary; 3 credits)
  • One senior capstone seminar (3 credits)

 

Master of Arts

Admission Requirements

View The Graduate School Admissions page.

Degree Requirements

Hebrew Bible and Its Interpretation requirements are determined on the basis of an evaluation of the undergraduate transcript. Students entering the program may be required to take certain prerequisite courses during the first year of graduate study if they have not had the equivalent previously, as described below.

Medieval Scriptural Interpretation

Courses

Students entering the program will be required to take the following courses, or their equivalent, if they have not had the equivalent previously:

  • TAL 6113: Survey of Mishnah
  • MID 5022: Introduction to Rabbinic Narrative (Aggadah)
  • BIB 5013: Parshanut: Pentateuch with Rashi

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:

  • MID/MDS 6101: Introduction to Jewish Exegesis (3 credits) and either BIB 5826: Classical Medieval Commentaries or BIB 6307: Medieval Biblical Exegesis (3 credits) or the equivalent
  • Two courses in advanced Medieval Scriptural Interpretation (6 credits)
  • HIS 6313: Under Cross and Crescent: Jews and Judaism in the Middle Ages (3 credits)
  • 6 credits of electives in Midrash, Talmud, Bible, or Medieval Scriptural Interpretation at the 6000 level or above
  • 9 credits chosen in consultation with the advisor, at least one course of which focuses on biblical narrative

Comprehensive Examinations

Oral

Student is responsible for reading and translating with fluency any comments of Rashi, Rashbam, Ibn Ezra on two parashiyot, one narrative and one legal, to be determined. This exam will be "open book and closed notes." Student is responsible for a predetermined selection from Ramban's Torah commentary.

Written

The student and faculty advisory committee will determine a bibliography for the purpose of conducting a written comprehensive examination.

  

Doctor of Hebrew Literature

Admission Requirements

View The Graduate School Admissions page. Additionally, students must have a master's degree in Bible or Judaica. Further course work may be required in the case of students who have an MA in Judaica. Students must pass an examination in biblical Hebrew grammar.

Medieval Scriptural Interpretation

Degree Requirements

Courses

In addition to courses required of all students in The Graduate School, 30 graduate credits beyond the MA are required, to be selected from the following list:

  • Five courses in Medieval Scriptural Interpretation (15 credits)
  • Two courses in Midrash (6 credits)
  • One course in Targum or Targumic Aramaic (3 credits)
  • One course in Medieval Jewish History (3 credits)
  • One course in the cognate literature of the period (e.g., Karaite, Christian, or Islamic exegetical literature) taken either at JTS or in one of the consortium institutions (3 credits)

Note: Two of the above courses must be research seminars with major papers.

Dissertation

A competent piece of research that constitutes a contribution to the field. The topic will be selected in consultation with the faculty advisory committee.

  

Doctor of Philosophy

Admission Requirements

View The Graduate School Admissions page. Additionally, students must have a master's degree in Bible or Judaica. Further course work may be required in the case of students with an MA in Judaica. All students must pass examinations in German and French for reading knowledge.

The area of Hebrew Bible and Its Interpretation can fashion a PhD program that matches the strengths of its faculty and the interests of the prospective students. What follows reflects past programs and should not be seen as a definitive outline or limitation of additional courses of study.

Medieval Scriptural Interpretation

Courses

In addition to courses required of all students in The Graduate School, language requirements in Greek, Latin, Syriac, Arabic and/or Old French, selected according to the student's interests and in consultation with the faculty advisory committee. Additionally, a minimum of 42 credits beyond the MA are required; the precise number of courses will be assessed upon admission. Up to 9 credits (three courses) taken on the graduate level at another university may be counted toward this total. Required courses include:

  • Five courses in Medieval Scriptural Interpretation (15 credits)
  • Two courses in Midrash (6 credits)
  • One course in Targum or Targumic Aramaic (3 credits)
  • Two courses in Medieval Jewish Literature (e.g., piyyut; 6 credits)
  • Two courses in Medieval Jewish History (6 credits)
  • One course in the social history of the period (taken either at JTS or in one of the consortium institutions; 3 credits)
  • One course in the cognate literature of the period (e.g., Karaite, Christian, or Islamic exegetical literature) taken either at JTS or in one of the consortium institutions (3 credits)

Note: Two of the above courses must be research seminars with major papers. 

The Davidson School MA in Jewish Education: Core Courses in Hebrew Bible and Its Interpretation

All students in The Davidson School are required to take the following three courses or their equivalent, in consultation with the dean:

  • BIB 5011: Introduction to Hebrew Bible
  • BIB 5012: Survey of the Pentateuch
  • BIB 5013:Parshanut: Pentateuch with Rashi; or BIB 5826: Classical Medieval Commentaries; or MID 5022: Introduction to Rabbinic Narrative (Aggadah)

The Rabbinical School: Core Courses in Hebrew Bible and Its Interpretation

The following courses are required of all rabbinical students; substitutions may be made in consultation with the dean and the area coordinator for Hebrew Bible and Its Interpretation:

Note: HEB 2201: Intermediate Hebrew I; HEB 5203: Intermediate Hebrew II; and HEB 5009: Hebrew Grammar must be taken prior to or in conjunction with these courses, in consultation with the dean and the area coordinator for Hebrew Bible and Its Interpretation.

  • Skill Level 1—BIB 6060:Introduction to Biblical Hebrew and BIB 6070: Introduction to Miqra'ot Gedolot
  • Skill Level 2—BIB 6106: Hebrew Bible: Torah Text, Context, and Meaning and BIB 6107: Hebrew Bible: Prophets and Writings

After concluding the beit midrash course of studies in New York City, rabbinical students continue to Israel, where they take required and elective courses in Bible and Midrash. Returning to the Iyun stage in New York, they take BIB 6307: Medieval Biblical Exegesis; and MID 5022: Introduction to Rabbinic Narrative (Aggadah) and at least two Bible electives. Iyun students pursuing an MA degree in Biblical Interpretation complete the additional requirements in that field.

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