College of Arts & Sciences


Core Curriculum: More Than Great Books.The Jewish-Christian Studies Graduate Program in the Department of Religion offers students the opportunity to pursue advanced studies through coursework and independent research and to work towards either a Master of Arts (M.A.) degree or a Certificate in Jewish-Christian Studies.

M.A. Degree Requirements

The Department requires M.A. students to select one of the two following study options in consultation with a program adviser:

  • Thesis Program

    Students in the thesis program must complete a total of 36, including 6 credits in the reading of Hebrew texts. Approval by the program adviser must be obtained for all courses chosen. Additionally, all students who pursue this program are required to prepare and defend a thesis based on their independent research. The thesis must make a contribution to continuing research in some aspect of Jewish-Christian studies.

    Three credits must be completed in JCST 9001 Thesis (with the topic approved by the Thesis Committee). After consultation with the faculty, students with a strong background in research may choose to do a more extensive investigation of an approved topic and produce a thesis for 6 credits (JCST 9002).

  • Non-Thesis Program

    Students in the non-thesis program must complete 36 credits in Jewish-Christian Studies, selecting courses with the approval of the program adviser. Students must also demonstrate a basic knowledge of biblical Hebrew.

Certificate Requirements

The Certificate in Jewish-Christian Studies is designed for educators seeking professional development in the awareness and lessons of the Holocaust, other genocides, anti-Semitism and other contemporary forms of prejudice. It is therefore perfectly suited for teachers, anti-bullying coordinators and specialists, principals and other educators who want to learn practical strategies that will help them effectively deconstruct hatred and promote social justice in their schools and communities. Click here to learn more.

Students who complete Christian-Jewish Encounter (JCST 6001) and three additional Jewish-Christian studies courses (12 total credits) may apply for a certificate, which meets the New Jersey mandate for K-12 education about the Holocaust and genocide. Courses are selected in consultation with a faculty adviser.  

Required course

All M.A. and Certificate students will take the following introductory course:

JCST 6001
Christian-Jewish Encounter

This course provides a historical review of Christian origins and Jewish-Christian relations. The heritage of Christian faith and practice that draws upon Jewish sources is examined as are the Vatican II Declaration on Non-Christian Religions and other pertinent documents and the tasks and challenges for the coming decades.  3 credits

Course Descriptions

For a full list of course offerings and their descriptions, please see the Graduate Catalogue.

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Hebrew Language

JCST 6005-6006 Biblical Readings in Hebrew Bible I and II
Complementing JCST 6010, selections from prose and poetry of the Hebrew Scriptures are studied grammatically, with an emphasis on their literary, historical and theological content. Examinations of the Hebrew world of thought as a vehicle for faith-expression are also explored. 2 credits each

JCST 6007 Readings in Qumran Literature
This course investigates the major Hebrew texts peculiar to the Qumran community and compares the grammar and vocabulary of the Biblical period. Implications of these works for contemporary Jewish history and theology are also examined. 2 credits

JCST 6008 Rabbinic Readings in Hebrew
Readings may be coordinated with JCST 6012 and JCST 7044. Examples of Mishnah, prayer and Midrashim and distinctions between Biblical and Mishnaic Hebrew are explored. 2 credits

Sacred Texts

JCST 6010 Biblical Thought I: The Hebrew Scriptures
The course is divided into three main parts: 1) Hebrew thought contrasted with myths of the ancient Middle East, evaluating the basic themes and their presentation; 2) the experience, nature and message of Hebrew prophecy; 3) comparative study of Old Testament theology, analyzing the models and experiential hermeneutics of Judaism and Christianity. 3 credits

JCST 6011 Biblical Thought II: Paul and John
Early Christian understanding of the mystery of God’s life as shared with the people He has chosen. Integration of election, covenant and Torah into new perspectives. Use of the Hebrew Bible and the Jewish liturgy by the writers in their reflection on the person of Jesus and the nature of the Church. Letters of Paul and the Gospel according to John studied in detail. 3 credits

JCST 6012 The Jewish Texture of the Gospels
Gospels are studied redactionally, preserving an ongoing interpretation of the works and words of Jesus in light of the early Christian experience. A detailed account of the Jewish socioreligious background for a better understanding of both the Gospels and the Jesus tradition is outlined to dispel distortions and misconceptions that persist due to a lack of phenomenological understanding of this crucial period. Course develops a new direction. 3 credits

JCST 6013 Hebrews and Catholic Epistles
This investigation of New Testament texts, the Epistle to the Hebrews and the seven Catholic (general) Epistles explores early Christian understanding of the faith in Jesus and moral life and its relation to the Jewish Scriptures and the Jewish people. 3 credits

JCST 7038 Bible and Masorah
This course investigates how the biblical text was prepared by scribes from earliest times. There will be a comparison with the Qumram (Dead Sea) scrolls and other sources of the first century C.E. Careful attention to its Hebrew form will be accompanied by study of the translations int Aramaic and Greek. 3 credits

JCST 7046 Teachings of Jesus
Critical and exegetical introduction to selected texts and themes illustrating the principal characteristics of the teachings of Jesus. Explanations of their significance in the Jewish context of that time and their impact on the disciples and the early Church, with a view of the socioreligious and experiential settings, are explored . 3 credits

Scriptural Interpretative Development

JCST 7030 Law and Ethics: Jewish and Christian Perspectives
This course examines: covenant and Torah in ancient Israel; law and ethics in the wisdom tradition; Torah and commandments in the literature of the Second Temple Period; Sadducees and the Qumran community; the Pharisaic teaching concerning written and oral Torah; approaches of the New Testament writers and the Rabbis to Covenant, law and ethics; great legal codes of Medieval Jewry; canon law; law versus Gospel in Luther’s thought; Calvin’s reverence for law; ethics concerning the family and sanctity of life in modern thought; and structures in society as opposed to nihilism and terrorism. 3 credits

JCST 7033 Biblical and Jewish Eschatology
Investigates the development of Hebrew thought concerning immortality and resurrection; the background of early apocalyptic thought and hope; models for community life and morality inspired by belief in the afterlife; the use of biblical ideas (Kingdom of God, new creation, retribution) in the Jewish and Christian liturgies; and modern views on the meaning of life and the eternal destiny of human beings. 3 credits

JCST 7034 Biblical Interpretation and the Religious Experience
Explores the modes of interpretation as related to religious experience through a study of the phenomena and the literary expression, paradigms and models, symbols and myth. Relates the biblical tradition as canonical scriptures for a worshipping community to the ongoing dialogue with the word of God in Midrash and Targum. Examines structure and meaning, guiding principles and hermeneutical systems; the dynamics of interpretation in ever-changing times. 3 credits

JCST 7036 Peace and War in Bible and Jewish Tradition
Review of biblical tradition (including New Testament) and rabbinic literature (such as Pereq Hashalom) on the dynamic meaning and application of peace in the transpersonal and interpersonal realms. Study of war and violence and the vision of universal peace in Jewish thought, from early times to the modern period. 3 credits

JCST 7041 Jewish Roots of Christian Spirituality
Christian faith and prayer (liturgical and personal) is rooted in the biblical heritage as experienced by the Jewish community. The challenge of early Christian adaptation to cultures of the Mediterranean and north Europe forms a background to a discussion of inculturation of liturgy of the Sacraments in modern society. 3 credits

JCST 7043 Jewish and Early Christian Prayer
Explores Jewish prayer and worship in their intrinsic worth and as matrix of the Christian liturgy and examines the structure and meaning of the early tradition of prayer with reference to Temple, synagogue and home, as well as to calendar and celebration. Particular attention is given to early Christian prayers and symbols. 3 credits

JCST 7045 Jerusalem’s Fall: Jewish and Christian Interpretations
Themes of land, Jerusalem and Temple as related to God and His people in the Hebrew Bible as part of both Jewish and Christian thought. Assesses the interpretative development of the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple through the different strata of early tradition, focusing on specific prophetic motifs for evaluating the issue of theodicy. 3 credits

Rabbinics & Jewish Philosophy

JCST 6024 Medieval Jewish Thinkers
Review of Jewish religious philosophy, beginning with Philo and the rabbis and continued with the appearance of the major medieval works. Comparative study with neo-Platonism, Aristotelianism and Kalam. Contribution of Jewish thinkers like Saadiah Gaon, Bahya Ibn Paquda, Judah Halevi, Abraham Ibn Daud and Moses ben Maimon. 3 credits

JCST 6028 Modern Jewish Thinkers
Evaluates the works of Moses Mendelssohn, Samson Raphael Hirsch, Hermann Cohen, Leo Baeck, Franz Rosenzweig, Martin Buber, Achad Haam, Aaron David Gordon, Abraham Isaac Kook, Kaufman Kohler, Mordecai Kaplan, Abraham J. Heschel, and Joseph Soloveitchik. 3 credits

JCST 7031 Jewish Mysticism
Course traces the major themes of the Jewish mystical tradition from Biblical through Rabbinic, Kabbalistic and Hasidic epochs, using translations of classical sources. Approach is both phenomenological and historic, with comparison between Jewish mystical thought and other mystical systems explored. 3 credits

JCST 7035 Jewish Philosophy of Education
Important contributions of Jews to every area of western culture, studied in the context of the integrated approach to education from the biblical and Rabbinic periods. Themes in ancient literature followed into medieval and modern times as related to philosophy and practice. 3 credits

JCST 7044 Rabbinic Thought
Introduction to criticisms, structure and literary history of rabbinic material. Evaluation of the legal and value concepts of the rabbinic mind in light of various examples of the tradition. Current developments in the study of rabbinic Judaism are also covered. 3 credits

JCST 7570 Modern Jewish Ethics
This course analyzes the basic principles of Jewish ethics and their applications to contemporary Jewish issues. The course will start with rabbinic and medieval texts and then spend most of the class time on contemporary Jewish approaches to ethics, including those of Elliott Dorff, Walter Wurzburger, Jonathan Sachs, Aharon Lichtenstein, Eugene Borowitz and Emmanuel Levinas. Topics discussed will include law and ethics, human rights, economic justice, global ethics, Jewish virtues and values, Tikkun Olam, and differences from Christian ethics and kindness toward others. 3 credits 

Jewish History

JCST 6020 Jewish History I: Bible to Talmud
Survey of the dispersion of the Hebrew people in the circum-Mediterranean world during the Second Temple period to the formation of the rabbinic canon; contextual reading of relevant ancient texts; examination of sects and factions within the House of Israel; the influences of Hellenism and Rome; effects of the break-off of Christianity; diversity among Jewish communities. 3 credits

JCST 6021 Jewish History II: Medieval to Modern
Investigation of selected post-Talmudic developments and variations within Judaism: the Jews in Muslim lands; political and economic circumstances of Jews in Medieval, Renaissance and Enlightenment Europe; the rise of Hasidism and Zionism in Eastern Europe; the Holocaust; the State of Israel; Jews in pluralistic America. 3 credits

JCST 6022 Judaism in the Second Temple Period
Development of Jewish spirituality and theology from 300 B.C. until the destruction of Jerusalem. Various interpretations of the Hebrew Scriptures. Deuterocanonical (apocryphal), pseudepigraphical works and Qumran scrolls assessed for their contribution to Judaism of the time. 3 credits

JCST 7042 Dead Sea Scrolls and Variegated Judaism
Review of the latest scholarship and recent findings, especially the Dead Sea Scrolls, in relation to the critical period for the rise of Early Christianity and Rabbinic Judaism. Special attention is given to the variegated expressions of the biblical heritage, leading to uniformity, heretical tendencies and distinct forms. 3 credits

Christian-Jewish Encounter & Social Service

JCST 6001 Christian-Jewish Encounter
This course provides a historical review of Christian origins and Jewish-Christian relations. The heritage of Christian faith and practice that draws upon Jewish sources is examined as are the Vatican II Declaration on Non-Christian Religions and other pertinent documents and the tasks and challenges for the coming decades. 3 credits

JCST 6015 Cross-Cultural Analysis for Jewish-Christian Studies
Examination of social science models for studying the circum-Mediterranean world as the context for Jewish/Christian symbols and values; comparative study of Jews and Christians as distinct but related traditions in various social world contexts; the causes and effects of anti-Semitism; impact of individualism on Judaism and Christianity in a pluralistic society. 3 credits

JCST 6016 Values for a Pluralistic Society
A study of pluralism as a system along with its concomitant social values: civil rights and responsibilities, individualism and diversity, separation of church and state, community building and prejudice reduction. Deriving resources from a cross-cultural study of Jewish and Christian sources, the course will examine various societal models for values formation and practical guides for communicating values in a pluralistic socio-religious setting. 3 credits

JCST 6017 Jewish and Christian Foundations for Social Service
This course will examine the biblical and theological foundations in Judaism and Christianity for promoting social services. It will study notable examples of such services through history and explore various agencies today that continue this tradition. The focus of the course will be on an understanding of the rationale as well as a motivational base for responding to social needs. The course is particularly suited to teachers seeking to foster social consciousness among students in public, private and parochial schools. 3 credits

JCST 7576 Personal Rights & Responsibilities for a Just Society
This course will address issues in urban schools that undermine personal rights and responsibilities such as bullying and coercive gang practices. In light of Holocaust and Genocide studies, this course will apply remedies that have been tested and proven effective for raising critical awareness of causes and effects of destructive social behavior. It will develop a curriculum to engender personal responsibility for building an inclusive social order necessary for a just society. The outcomes of the course will be tailored teaching units for confronting destructive group practices and for building models that promote personal responsibility and leadership. 3 credits

JCST 7588 Collaborative Models for Integral Ecology
Building on a shared awareness of ecological challenges today, as detailed in Pope Francis’ encyclical (May 2015), Laudato Si’ (Praise Be to You), this course will delve into the issues and opportunities for integral creation care, both human and environmental. The course aims to find common purpose for inter-religious and inter-cultural initiatives to manage the ecological challenges and their implications for the future. It will be useful for educators in public, private, and parochial schools in addressing social studies, the common core, contemporary issues in technology and science, as well as health issues facing all people today.

Holocaust Studies

JCST 6014 Lessons from the Holocaust
Reviews personal and societal impact of prejudice and hatred; exclusionary and destructive societal practices relating to race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity and political views; institutionalized anti-Semitism in Germany under the Nazis; social world conditions that minimize personal freedoms and lead to genocidal behavior; probing alternative educational models. 3 credits

JCST 6018 Catholic-Jewish Dialogue on the Holocaust: A Catholic Perspective
A critical assessment of facts, issues and attitudes affecting Catholic-Jewish interfaith dialogue on the Holocaust. 3 credits

JCST 6029 The Holocaust: History and Interpretation
Examines the uniqueness of the tragedy; the historical background of anti-Semitism and racism (Gobineau and H.S. Chamberlain); the manner and method of genocide (boycott, burning of synagogues, concentration camps and gas chambers); those involved and the “onlookers;” Jewish and Christian reactions to the moral and theological issues; literature concerning the Holocaust; and implications for Jewish-Christian dialogue. 3 credits

JCST 7047 Philosophic Perspectives on the Shoah
This course seeks to engage students in a critical consideration of the moral, religious and theological implications of the Holocaust. This course will start with the classic positions of Fackenheim, Greenberg, Borkovits and Rubenstein. It will then move to the thought of the last two decades, incorporating both Jewish and Christian thinkers, including Levinas Hauerwas, Tracy, and Jonas. Topics covered will include challenges to religion, lessons for preventing future genocide, the possibility for forgiveness, and the need for ethics and bioethics. 3 credits

View Current Course Schedule » 

Program Chair
Reverend Lawrence E. Frizzell, D.Phil.

(973) 761-9751
Fahy Hall

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