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Man, Beast, Myth:
The Jewish Golem

The Golem is one of the most fascinating creatures in literature: part human, part beast. An object of mystery, pity, fear, and contempt. In this seminar, we will explore traditional versions of the Golem story in Jewish sources alongside selections from more modern Golem tales by authors such as Terry Pratchett, Mary Shelley, and Michael Chabon. Students will consider these different depictions of artificial humans as a way of exploring some deep questions: what it means to be human, what it means to create, and what fears and desires the figure of the Golem represents for Jews throughout history. We may even try writing some Golem tales of our own!