Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice is one of the Bard’s most challenging plays, and it is particularly challenging for modern Jews. Led by a leading scholar in Renaissance literature, this course will give students the chance to work slowly and intensively through the text of Shakespeare’s play. We will consider the action and themes of the play as a whole, but also look particularly at Shakespeare’s depiction of Shylock. How closely does Shylock replicate other “stage Jews” of the period? How closely does he represent the real status of Jews in early modern England? What do we make of the ties—literary and historical—between Jews and markets?
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For students who want to take at least 3 courses this summer, you can become eligible for special additional opportunities—including essay prizes/scholarships, special sessions w/ Jewish leaders, and a Tikvah online certificate.Learn More
Meet the Instructors
Seminars are taught by Tikvah faculty and experts in the subject matter. Please note that course faculty are subject to change depending on availability.
Sarah Skwire is a Senior Fellow at Liberty Fund, Inc., a non-profit educational foundation and the co-author of the college writing textbook, Writing with a Thesis, which is in its 12th edition. Sarah has published a range of academic articles on subjects from Shakespeare to zombies and the broken window fallacy, and her work has appeared in journals as varied as Religions, Literature and Medicine, The George Herbert Journal, and The Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization. She has written frequently for FEE, the Fraser Institute, Bleeding Heart Libertarians, and other print and digital outlets. Sarah’s work on literature and economics has also appeared in Newsweek, The Freeman, and in Cato Unbound, and she is an occasional lecturer for IHS, SFL, and other organizations. She has been featured on podcasts such as Economic Rockstars and Imaginary Worlds. Her poetry has appeared, among other places, in Standpoint, The New Criterion, and The Vocabula Review. She graduated with honors in English from Wesleyan University, and earned an MA and PhD in English from the University of Chicago.
The Tikvah Fund
Alan Rubenstein was educated in Liberal Arts at St. John’s College in Annapolis, MD, and also at Georgetown University. He was a senior consultant for the President’s Council on Bioethics and currently serves as Hanson Scholar of Ethics at Carleton College in Northfield, MN. At Carleton, he teaches ethical thought through close reading of great literature of the West—in particular, Plato, Hebrew Bible, and Shakespeare. He is currently Director of University Programs for the Tikvah Fund. His published essays have focused on the philosopher Hans Jonas, the Hebrew Bible, and Judaism in middle America. He is married and father of three children.