Faculty of PhilosophyJewish Studies

The degree programme in Jewish Studies considers the Jewish religion, history and culture from the Antique period to the present day. Building on good language skills, the academic course covers different subdisciplines to offer students a methodical and comprehensive degree programme.

Jewish Studies explores the origins of Judaism – religious texts and their interpretation over the course of time – social and political aspects of historical societies, Jewish philosophy, art and literature, as well as many additional aspects of Jewish life. These elements are studied in relation to historical Jewish societies, up to present day Israel.

Special Features and Characteristics

Heidelberg College for Jewish Studies offers courses in a range of subdisciplines and as such, is the only institution in Europe at which students are able to study “Judaism” from interdisciplinary and varied perspectives. The College currently employs ten professors specialising in a range of subdisciplines. These include philosophy, Talmud, the Bible, history, literature, art, linguistics, Israel and the Near East. 

Academic and theoretical course elements are complemented by practical features, religious offerings, and the particular approaches to teaching and learning which are taken at the Heidelberg College for Jewish Studies. A university rabbi and additional lecturers act as leaders for worship, prayer and study of the Talmud. Traditional forms of learning have their place in the beth midrash, a place for prayer and religious study. Students prepare for Jewish festivals together through study of the liturgy and other preparations. The student body also organises social events at which Jewish festivals can be celebrated. 

The College’s specialist library can be used as a place of learning, and for social meet-ups. With a unique collections of Hebrew and other specialist texts, the latest research literature including classic study editions and historical volumes, the College library facilitates interdisciplinary study of topics related to Judaism. 

The College is active in the local community, taking a role in cultural events, organising the lecture series “Heidelberger Hochschulreden”, presentations, film viewings, discussion events and exhibitions. Students are thus able to gain practical experience of organising cultural projects and exhibitions, and of undertaking media work.

Research

In 2015, the Abraham Berliner Center was established as a centre for Bible and Bible Studies. The Center serves as Germany’s new platform for international Jewish scholarship.  Research conducted at the Center focusses on the textual and exegetical traditions of the Hebrew Bible, with a particular emphasis on the Masorah and Targumim.  The aim of this long-running project, sponsored by the German Research Foundation (DFG), is to publish a digital resource containing visual interpretations of textual sources from the eleventh to thirteenth century. This publication will therefore combine original historical sources with new forms of analysis and publication.  

The Ignatz-Bubis-Stiftungslehrstuhl for the history, religion and culture of European Judaism, is currently involved in a project to convert a standard volume on the history of Judaism in the Middle Ages into a digital resource.  The project, “Neue Gallia-Germania Judaica” offers an online platform via which individuals from all over the world specialising in Jewish and Medieval studies are able to engage in an interactive exchange of ideas for the new edition of “Germania Judaica”, originally published in the twentieth century.

Occupational Areas

A degree programme in Jewish Studies enables graduates to pursue employment in the museum sector, for memorial sites, in academic institutions, for print, online and broadcast media, or for other institutions which require employees with similar skills. The degree programme also prepares graduates to work as part of educational projects within the community, including those of an interreligious and intercultural nature. 

Insights

There are many different professorships in Jewish Studies with a variety of different scientific backgrounds. Therefore, we can chose between a wide range of interesting lectures and courses on Judaism.

Gunnar Placzek, 23, Jewish Studies, 4th semester Bachelor

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