Graduate Theological Union
The area looks at Jewish Studies from a non-parochial vantage point and seeks to encourage its students to combine various academic disciplines and historical perspectives in their work.
The M.A. is offered in conjunction with the faculty of the Center for Jewish Studies at the Graduate Theological Union.
The Ph.D. is jointly administered and granted by GTU and the University of California, Berkeley. The joint degree program in Jewish Studies is under review at UCB and is, therefore, not currently accepting new students. We strongly encourage students interested in Jewish Studies to consider the Jewish History and Culture track within the History area.
Renée Powell, M.A. '10,
RUTIE ADLER • UCB (Hebrew Language Instruction)
ROBERT ALTER • UCB (Near Eastern Studies and Comparative Literature) • Bible and Modern Hebrew Literature.
DEENA ARANOFF • GTU/CJS (Medieval Jewish Studies) • Jewish society and culture in the medieval and early modern European context.
DAVID BIALE • UC Davis/GTU • Intellectual Jewish history; Jewish-Christian relations; the history of blood.
DANIEL BOYARIN • UCB (Near Eastern Studies) • Rabbinic Literature and Jewish Cultural Studies.
JOHN EFRON • UCB (History) • Modern Jewish history; intersections between medicine and Jewish identity.
BLUMA GOLDSTEIN • UCB (Emerita) • German-Jewish and Yiddish Literature.
EMILY GOTTREICH • UCB • Jewish-Muslim relations; Judeo-Islamic culture.
ERICH GRUEN • UCB (History) • Jews in the Roman-Hellenic world.
RONALD HENDEL • UCB (Near Eastern Studies) • Ancient Hebrew Language, Literature, Religion and Culture.
CHANA KRONFIELD • UCB (Near Eastern Studies and Comparative Literature) • Modern Hebrew and Yiddish Literature; Literary Theory.
MIRIAM SAS • UCB • Comparative literature and film studies.
NAOMI SEIDMAN • GTU/CJS (Jewish Culture) • Translation theory and the Bible in translation; secular Jewish culture; modern Jewish literature.
All primary faculty in Jewish Studies at the two institutions (listed above) frequently convenes to set policy. Additional faculty resources can be found in the Departments of History, Anthropology, and Linguistics of UCB and in Biblical Studies at the GTU.
Certificate in Jewish Studies
The Center for Jewish Studies and the GTU offer a six course certificate program for individuals who want to have some systematic graduate training in Jewish Studies but are not prepared to undertake the M.A. or Ph.D. The program is also designed for current GTU students who wish to demonstrate a basic command of Jewish Studies; interested students should register their intention with the Office Manager of the Center for Jewish Studies as early as possible in their course of their studies. Applicants not already enrolled in a GTU program may apply by submitting a Certificate Application, statement of purpose, and official transcripts showing completion of a bachelor’s degree. Letters of recommendation may be requested.
A specialized program offered by the GTU faculty at the Center for Jewish Studies
Students may specialize in ancient, medieval, or modern Jewish history and culture. Graduate studies at the Center for Jewish Studies combine an emphasis upon classical Jewish languages and literature with the perspectives and methodologies of contemporary scholarship. M.A. research may focus on themes such as language, Biblical hermeneutics, translation, secularization, sexuality, cultural exchange, and Jewish-Christian interaction. Students may work within the discipline of history as well as literary, religious, or cultural studies.
New and Exciting Opportunity for MA applicants in Jewish Studies!
The Richard S. Dinner Center for Jewish Studies at the Graduate Theological Union and the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies are pleased to announce the establishment of a new fellowship for students pursuing an M.A. in Jewish Studies at the GTU, with supplementary studies at the Pardes Institute in Jerusalem.
The in Jewish Studies combines the rich resources of the GTU and UC Berkeley to provide an academic framework for graduate students in the area of Jewish Studies, as well as creates a broad interdisciplinary approach to the field. Faculty in the program have pioneered in such areas as literary study of the Bible, the investigation of Jewish sexuality and gender roles, the application of postmodernist theory to classic Jewish texts, the inscription of Jewish exegesis and thought in European intellectual history, and the rethinking of Yiddish and Hebrew literature in the context of literary history. The program looks at Jewish Studies from a non-parochial vantage point and seeks to encourage its students to combine various academic disciplines and historical perspectives in their work.
Students are encouraged to design their own course of study, but are provided with rigorous training in one period of Jewish history (biblical, late antiquity, medieval and Renaissance, or modern, with one additional minor period) and one theoretical discipline (history, philosophy, literature, religious studies, or anthropology).
To be admitted to the Joint Degree Program, a student must have an accredited B.A. or B.S. degree. Only students who intend to work toward the Ph.D. are considered for admission to the program. Preparation for the program must include the following:
- At least six university-level courses in Jewish Studies (not required if applicant holds an M.A. in Jewish Studies or a related field)
- At least two years of university-level Hebrew language or equivalent
- Minimal proficiency in another foreign language
- An undergraduate degree in one of the following fields: Jewish Studies, Near Eastern Studies, Literature, Religious Studies, Political Science, History, Philosophy, Anthropology, Linguistics, Sociology
For initial consultation about coursework and language preparation in the first year of the program, the student meets with the program's Graduate Advisor. During the first semester of the Ph.D. program a personal program advisor is selected and assigned to the student who will guide him/her further on courses, language study, and preparation for the doctoral qualifying exams.
Field of Emphasis
Students must arrange their programs according to both major and minor periods of specialization and a major discipline of specialization.
- Biblical (First and Second Temple period)
- Late antiquity (Hellenistic period to early Middle Ages)
- Medieval and Renaissance
- Modern (1700 - present)
- Literature (may include legal, exegetical, homiletic literature)
- Religious studies
- Women, gender, and sexuality
Unit and Course Requirements
The precise program of each Ph.D. student is determined by the Graduate Advisor and the student's program advisor, but must include: at least two courses in one of the above fields (the courses need not be taken in Jewish Studies) and one additional seminar paper. Students entering the program with an M.A. from a different institution or department may be required to complete additional courses.
Four language examinations must be completed prior to proceeding to the qualifying examinations. At least one of these two must be a Hebrew language exam.
- Hebrew: ability to read classical Hebrew texts and modern scholarly Hebrew (2 examinations)
- Other modern or ancient languages relevant to the student's field
- The student's committee may require an additional language if appropriate to the student's course of study.
During the second semester in the program, the student should begin forming the four-person qualifying examination committee. The committee consists of faculty from both GTU and UCB and includes the student's program advisor. The chair of this committee cannot serve as chair of the student's dissertation committee.
Comprehensive and Qualifying Examinations
The Ph.D. qualifying examinations include three written exams and one oral exam. The written exams are taken in the following areas:
- the major period of specialization;
- the minor period of specialization;
- the theoretical discipline of specialization.
The oral examination will cover all aspects of the student's work. Both the written and oral exams must be passed before the student begins work on a dissertation.
Upon passing the qualifying exams, the student selects a four-person dissertation committee with representation from both the GTU and UCB.
Proceed to Dissertation
The student submits a dissertation prospectus (not to exceed ten pages) with an application for candidacy to UCB. From the time the student advances to candidacy, he/she has 3 semesters to complete the dissertation (equivalent to the eighth through tenth semesters in the program). In exceptional cases, the student may continue for a final sixth or seventh year.