Postgraduate Diploma in Hebrew and Jewish Studies

This award aims to increase the students’ linguistic abilities in order that they can engage with the Jewish corpus as well as further develop their exegetical and hermeneutical skills. In this year this process is deepened even further as students are challenged by ever more complex texts, both rabbinic and biblical.

An additional focus is the time spent examining the changing historical contexts which impacted on Jewish religious civilisation, as well as the cross-fertilisation which occurred between Muslim, Jewish and Christian theology. Finally, the degree focuses on the students’ understanding of the historical development of Jewish liturgy both historical and new, and encourages them to develop their own personal theology.

The Postgraduate Diploma in Hebrew and Jewish Studies will be awarded to students who have successfully completed 120 credits. There are 315 contact hours. It can be studied either full-time (one year) or part-time (two years).

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

Entry Requirements

For rabbinic students who are continuing to Ordination: completion of the Graduate Diploma in Hebrew and Jewish Studies, Part 1 and Part 2;

or

Two years of higher learning at a commensurate level at another institute of higher learning or seminary. This is at the discretion of the Admissions Board.

For prospective students registering for the award

  1. A first/second class BA honours degree in Hebrew and Jewish Studies or a first/second class honours degree in Theology or Religious Studies or related subject and a demonstrable facility with Modern and Biblical Hebrew and Aramaic.
  2. Students whose mother tongue is not English are expected to meet a minimum level B2 on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) or Level 6.5 International English Language Testing System (IELTS).
  3. Students may be invited for an interview to determine the range and depth of their previous reading in an area of Jewish Studies which they have explored.

Prospective students over the age of 21 who do not satisfy the normal entry requirements may be admitted to a programme or subject provided that they can submit evidence of previous serious study and demonstrate the capacity and attainments to pursue successfully the proposed programme.

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, set exercises, textual analyses, and papers.

Module Descriptions

This course will introduce students to the life and thought of Moses Maimonides (Rambam). It will convey awareness of his systematic halakhic achievement, his Islamic philosophical sources, and his deep and lasting influence. It will encourage appreciation of the radical character of his ideas about the nature and attributes of God, creation,  providence, prophecy, evil, and the goal of human life. Maimonides has remained the most influential Jewish philosopher, whose ideas have been the subject of energetic scholarly debate from his own time until today. At stake in this debate have been questions about the influence of outside philosophies on Jewish thought, the freedom of expression allowed to challenging ideas in a rabbinic community, and the relative importance of the contemplative life within a practical halakhic framework.

This module aims to develop students’ awareness of the historical contexts in which Jewish thought developed in the middle ages. It will consider the development of a variety of streams of Judaism in the Islamicate and in Christendom, and will aim to introduce students to various ideological approaches to their history.

Siddur and Mahzor are the most read books in Judaism, but at the same time the least analysed. This course will apply standard academic interpretative methods to discover new and deeper levels of understanding in well known and lesser known texts. We will critically analyse texts from the perspectives of history, literature, philology, and hermeneutics. We will study old and new prayer book commentaries and the reception history of a text and deduce how certain styles of delivery interpret a given text. This module will provide students with the knowledge and critical acumen to develop their own opinions and theology.

This module is designed to introduce students to an integrated approach to the liturgy. Services will be read not as assemblages of discrete elements, but as parts of a larger narrative continuum. Attention will be paid to liturgical history, and to the ways prayers illuminate belief and relate to daily, weekly, annual and life events. Texts will be studied in Hebrew and in translation, emphasising differences in regional tradition and local custom. Particular attention will be paid to the theological implications of the sacred narrative.

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 offers the student the opportunity to engage in focused study of midrash, both so‐called halakhic and aggadic, at an advanced level. While the rabbinic tradition historically made much more of
the halakhic material than the aggadic, the range of subjects covered by the midrashim of both types is enormous, and their influence on medieval commentators and modern interpreters is concomitantly high. In addition, aggadic midrashim play a key role in the interpretation of the biblical text to congregations, both in a synagogal and educational context. This module will enable students to
acquire the necessary practical and intellectual skills to make the interpretation and dissemination of midrash a key part of their professional life.

This module is an intensive approach to rabbinic literature, which offers thorough, intensive training in the area of rabbinic language and literature at an advanced level, involving advanced independent research and training for the production of a dissertation. Students will study a wide range of rabbinic sources, with a focus upon the relationship between the Talmuds, Midrash and the later developments in geonic, codificatory and responsa literature. The student will learn to develop original arguments growing out of their study and analysis of the relevant sources within the broader context of secondary scholarship.

The Biblical Book of the Psalms is a core text for those studying at Masters level in Hebrew and Jewish Studies, as well as for those studying for the rabbinate. The content of the module is the Book of Psalms as it offers the opportunity to analyse Biblical poetic material which is significant in itself and in terms of Jewish liturgy and pastoral applications. The Psalms offers a way into personal spiritual life of the individual and into their relationship with the inner life of Jewish tradition.

The Prophets of Israel constructed much of the fabric of the social conscience that lies at the heart of Jewish ethics, as well as teaching the importance of sound thinking and honesty, as opposed to the practice of hypocrisy. Prophetic literature has an abiding relevance and meaning for modern Jews, and especially for rabbis. The intention of this course is to enable students to study the prophetic texts in a scientific and text-critical way combined with reflective time to consider the impact of such material on them as individuals and the sort of rabbis they hope to be, and to be able to teach them from a sound, scholarly base.

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Application Process

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Contact

Sandy Potashnick

+44 (0)20 8349 5622

sandy.potashnick@lbc.ac.uk

Application Deadline

30 June in the year preceding admission

Course Team Leader

Dr Jeremy Schonfield