Throughout Jewish history, Jews have struggled with the question of what ties them to all other human beings and what sets them apart. This question has taken on particular relevance in the contemporary world, where Jews in the United States and Israel must determine how their Judaism relates to their duties as citizens—in a country founded on the principle that all men are created equal, on the one hand, and in a Jewish state, on the other. This course will investigate the interplay of Jewish, civic, and cosmopolitan identity through a study of sections from four classic texts from the ancient world: Herodotus’s History, Aristotle’s Politics, the Book of Exodus, and the Book of Esther. As Jews, we will ask: what does it mean to be a human being and a citizen? As human beings and citizens, we will ask: what does it mean to be a Jew?
Earn a Tikvah Certificate
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 Instructor
Seminars are taught by Tikvah faculty and experts in the subject matter. Please note that course faculty are subject to change depending on availability.
Aaron Tugendhaft teaches humanities at Bard College Berlin. He received his PhD from the Department of Hebrew and Judaic Studies at New York University and also holds degrees in Art History and Social Thought from the University of Chicago. From 2014-18, he was a Harper Fellow at the University of Chicago, where he taught the flagship humanities core courses “Human Being & Citizen” and “Greek Thought and Literature.” He has also held postdoctoral fellowships at the Ludwig Maximilian University (Munich), the W. F. Albright Institute for Archaeological Research (Jerusalem), and the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science (Berlin). He is the editor, with Josh Ellenbogen, of Idol Anxiety (Stanford 2011) and the author of Baal and the Politics of Poetry (Routledge 2018). His next book, The Idols of ISIS: From Assyria to the Internet, is forthcoming from The University of Chicago Press.