Search for contacts, projects,
courses and publications

Main Trends in the Judaism


Granaroli B.


Menon M.



This course is intended as an introduction to Judaism and aims to provide a general overview of Jewish tradition from its biblical origins to the present. Specifically, I should first approach the issue of Jewish identity from a non-essentialist standpoint and on the basis of the fact that identity changes over time. Hence, we will try to answer the two questions of “What is a Jew?” and “Who is a Jew?” Secondly, the course will provide an outline of Jewish history highlighting the major periods, events and topics from Antiquity to the foundation of the State of Israel and beyond. Thirdly, the course will also introduce students to the vast corpus of Jewish literature and of Jewish hermeneutics. In particular, it will introduce biblical and rabbinic literature focusing on the notions of the Written Torah, its historical origin, literary character, religious authority as well as on the notion of Oral Torah pointing out its nature, origin and relationship with the Written Torah. Finally, the course will provide a topical investigation of one of the most wellknown
episodes of all Jewish literature: the Binding of Isaac in its original literary setting in Genesis 22 and in its countless interpretations and reformulations for over 2.500 years.


  • Introductory knowledge of the main historical periods and facts of Jewish history
  • Introductory knowledge of the basic beliefs and practices of Jewish religion
  • Introductory knowledge of Jewish religious literature and of the main interpretative methods and an appreciation of the main elements (religious, cultural, ethnic) which constitute Jewish identity.
  • Through the analysis of the Akedah narrative, an understanding of the interplay between texts and identity but also of the importance of biblical narrative to givemeaning to historical events.
  • Build a conceptual map of Judaism serving as a frame to make sense of events and ideas of Jewish history.

Teaching mode


Learning methods


Examination information

At the end of each term of the course, the student must take a written exam. It focuses on the topics covered during the course as well as on the texts listed in the recommended bibliography.
The exam consists of 5 open questions. Each answer must be 3000 characters long, including spaces.
The exam paper must be uploaded onto the dedicated area on the eLearning platform, during the one-week long exam session. 

Dates can be consulted in the academic calendar.