Conversion to and from Judaism

Date: Oct 24, 2022

Time: 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Location: Online

Category: Online Learning

Conversion to and from Judaism

Eight Mondays: October 24, 31, November 7, 14, 21, 28, December 5, 12; 7:00-9:00 p.m. ET 

With Dr. Benjamin Gampel, Dina and Eli Field Family Chair in Jewish History

Throughout Jewish history, individuals and groups have sought entry into the Jewish faith and membership in the Jewish people. And, conversely, Jews have sought, or have been compelled, to abandon their faith and their national/ethnic identity and join other faiths and national groups. In this course, we will investigate the sometimes surprising history of conversion into and out of Judaism, exploring, for instance, the complex reasons why Jews converted to Christianity or Islam—including dissatisfaction with the power structures of the Jewish community. Through a close reading of Jewish, Christian, and Muslim texts—first-person accounts, chronicles, letters, legal sources, and polemics—we will investigate the history of conversion into and out of Judaism in the Christian and Islamic worlds from late antiquity to the first stirrings of modernity (4th–17th centuries) in western Europe.

To prepare for class sessions, participants are encouraged to read the assigned primary sources. Knowledge of Hebrew is not required.

Cost: $240 for eight sessions