General information

Course type AMUPIE
Module title Origin and Development of Judaism from Antiquity to Jewish Enlightenment
Language English
Module lecturer Waldemar Szczerbiński
Lecturer's email
Lecturer position professor
Faculty Faculty of Polish and Classical Philology
Semester 2024/2025 (winter)
Duration 30
USOS code 03-AP-ODJA


Module aim (aims)

The main purpose of the lecture is to learn about the history, culture and religion of Jews both in biblical times and in the rabbinic period. In addition, the phenomenon of Jewish life in the European diaspora, the specificity of Judaism compared to other religions, the characteristics of Christian-Jewish relations, the impact of the Haskalah on traditional Jewish identity will also be discussed.

Pre-requisites in terms of knowledge, skills and social competences (where relevant)

Knowledge of general history at the secondary school level. Knowledge of the history of philosophy is advisable. 


The Holy Books of Judaism: The Torah and the Talmud. The importance of Midrash and Targums in the formation of the Jewish religion.

Stages of development of biblical Judaism: the period of the Patriarchs, the Egyptian captivity and the Exodus from Egypt, the conquest of Canaan and the period of the Judges, the Kingdom of Israel, the Babylonian captivity, the Persian period, the Hellenistic era, the Roman period.

Characteristics of rabbinic Judaism: Sephardim and Ashkenazim, Yiddish and Ladino, Kabbalah and Hasidism. The specificity of Jewish life in the Diaspora.

Essential truths in Judaism: The Holiness of the One God, the Election of Israel, Israel's Covenant with God, the Messianic Idea. The Institutions of Judaism (Jerusalem Temple, Synagogue, Rabbinate).

Jewish rites and customs from birth to death. Jewish calendar and kosher rules.

From alienation to acceptance - the presence of Jews among other Christian nations. The influence of the Haskalah on the change of Jewish consciousness.

The problem of anti-Semitism and the phenomena of anti-Judaism, anti-Jewishness and anti-Zionism.

Reading list


  1. G. Robinson, Essential Judaism. A Complete Guide to Beliefs, Customs, and Rituals, New York 2000.
  2. P. Johnson, A History of the Jews, New York 1987.
  3. D. Cohn-Sherbok, Judaism. History, Belief and Practice, New York 2003.


  1. J. Neusner, The Emergence of Judaism, London 2004.
  2. H.N. Lupovitch, Jews and Judaism in the World History, London and New York 2010.