The MA in Applied Rabbinic Theology provides those studying for Rabbinic Ordination with the opportunity to combine the study of biblical and rabbinic texts at MA level with commensurate congregational and pastoral work and analysis, thus heightening the synergy between them. In addition, students will have the opportunity to deepen their knowledge of modern Jewish thinkers and the way they address theological issues in today’s world. Students are challenged to develop their own personal theology.
The MA in Applied Rabbinic Theology will be awarded to students who have successfully completed 180 credits. 60 credits are awarded for a dissertation of 20,000 words and the remaining 120 credits are obtained through the completion of modules. There are 195 contact hours. This course usually takes twenty months to complete.
This programme is quality assured by Middlesex University and you will receive a Middlesex award on successful completion.
To read the Programme Specification please Click Here
This course is only open to students on the Rabbinic Programme who have already completed the previous three awards (Graduate Diploma in Hebrew and Jewish Studies Part 1 & Part 2 and the Postgraduate Diploma in Hebrew and Jewish Studies) or those students who have completed three years of equivalent study at another recognised institution of higher learning or seminary and at the discretion of the Admissions Board. For students whose first language is not English, Level 6.5 International English Language Testing System (IELTS) will be required.
Teaching and Assessment
A variety of teaching methods including tutor-led, group work and independent study will be used. Types of assessments include essays, presentations, appraisal of articles, research proposal, set exercises, a responsum, preparing liturgy and dissertation.
This module offers the student the opportunity to engage in focused study of a set of rotating themes, including the aggadot (narratives) of the Babylonian Talmud, Palestinian Talmud, Zohar, Piyyutim, Maimonides’s Guide of the Perplexed or other specialist texts of interest at an advanced level. This is a rare opportunity to study difficult and often neglected texts at an advanced level, as well as to engage in research on a related topic of interest
This module is aimed at helping the student in the transition from rabbinic student to rabbi through gaining an increasing depth of understanding of the rabbinic role; articulating and reflecting on previously gained skills in a congregational setting; drawing upon experiences of the rabbinic programme to increase feelings of confidence in the congregational placement; learning to identify which skills and techniques will be of help in any given set of circumstances within the rabbinic role; and providing information about the Progressive Movement(s), their Rabbinic Bodies and their Religious Courts and how best to work with and within them.
The module introduces the student to a range of research strategies, methodologies and methods to enable critical reflection on methodological issues, including the ethical dimension. In so doing, the module supports the student through the process of the development of a research proposal which may form the basis of the dissertation which follows. In addition, it aims to equip the student with a knowledge and understanding of research methodology to facilitate the undertaking of critical analysis of published research in the chosen field of study.
The module provides an opportunity for the student to undertake an independent, extensive investigation into a specific topic relevant to applied rabbinic theology which links classical texts and modern practice. Here, the student will be expected to draw upon previous knowledge gained during the course of the MA programme, including a thorough understanding of research methodology and relevant research techniques and tools. During the course of the module, the student will receive support through personal supervision to ensure that the dissertation reflects sustained arguments presented rationally, critically and coherently; evidence of having mastered the literature relevant to the topic; a capacity to write and present work to a high academic standard.
This module follow’s a thematic cycle focusing on Seder Nashim, Seder Nezikin or Seder Moed depending on the year. This module builds on three previous Intensive Rabbinic Literature modules and aims to sustain and advance the text and language expertise of students. There is increased emphasis on the Palestinian Talmud and a wider range of secondary literature in addition to studying Mishna, Tosefta, Midrash and the Babylonian Talmud. Students will acquire higher level research skills related to rabbinic literature and will be trained in teaching primary texts to a range of audiences. Students will have the opportunity, where suitable, to mentor and teach junior level students in a class environment.
This module introduces the concept of personal theology and asks whether personal theology can or should be a systematic theology. Also discussed is the relevance and importance of personal theology to the contemporary rabbinate and rabbinate practice. During the module students will examines key concepts of modern progressive theology that may contribute to the construction of a personal theology.
Jewish life has constantly developed through the application of halachah to existing and new situations. Indeed it was a primary way in which Judaism sought to respond to the challenges of the contemporary world throughout history. But Progressive Jews live in a world which is not bound by Jewish Law alone. This module will look at a broad range of halakhic resources, especially Codes and modern Responsa literature and prepare students to access and create such material in their rabbinic decision making. Emphasis will be place on matters of practical significance for those hoping to enter the Progressive rabbinate.
The primary content of this module is the study Megillot in depth with the aim of developing the students’ ability to read, analyse and translate the Hebrew text. Students will engage with a range of different methodological approaches ranging from traditional Jewish medieval commentaries, the Septuagint and Targum and contemporary academic theories. I.e., feminism, reader-response theory, post-colonial theory, intertextuality, translation theory, and cultural studies. These exegetical methodologies will be applied to excite deeper understanding of these texts. As all five of these books serve a liturgical function in the Jewish calendar, we will consider the ways different methodological approaches facilitate better access to the texts both in academic and congregational settings.
The module will pursue a line of modern Jewish religious enquiry and argument, contextualised in eighteenth and nineteenth-century Jewish thought, but focussing on relational, existential, liberative themes in twentieth-century Jewish thinkers and on occasion visual artists. Through close reading of selected texts and artworks, including the use of gender as a category of analysis, the module will consider some of the central religious themes and ideas that emerged from Jewish modernity, both in their own historical context (notably in relation of the First World War and the Holocaust) and as read from a contemporary perspective.
This module will enable students to make the transition from a rabbinic student’s level of pastoral and community skills to those of an ordained rabbi. Students will acquire a theoretical and a practical understanding of rabbinic pastoral responsibilities and have an in depth understanding of the Jewish spiritual and ethical values which need to be applied to pastoral work. All the topics studied will reflect the current legal, charitable, ethical and managerial frameworks with in which rabbinic work in congregations should be placed. Students will be encouraged to reflect on their personal self-development throughout their training at the College.