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Faith and Doubt in Modern Jewish Literature

Dates: Jan. 21 | Feb. 4 | Feb. 18 | Mar. 4 | Mar. 11
Time: Thurs., 1:15 PM - 2:30 PM IST

In this course, we will encounter works of modern Jewish literature that evaluate and debate the respective merits of a secular way of life versus a life of Jewish faith and practice. In some texts, the debate is between a religious character and a non-religious character. Others feature an internal debate within the mind of one person. We will read of a grim mussar scholar who quarrels with a secular Yiddish writer; an Eastern European Rabbi who loses his faith because of the problem of evil, later to regain said faith; a Lubavitch poet who grapples with the upper and lower worlds; and a devout Holocaust survivor whose worldview is pitted against a progressive cosmopolitan interlocutor. We will evaluate these works on literary grounds and discuss the theological and philosophical questions that they raise. Authors will include Chaim Grade, Isaac Bashevis Singer, S. Y. Agnon, Eve Grubin, Yehoshua November, and Moshe Koppel.