General information

Course type AMUPIE
Module title Jews and Judaism in Modern Times
Language English
Module lecturer Waldemar Szczerbiński
Lecturer's email
Lecturer position professor
Faculty Faculty of Polish and Classical Philology
Semester 2024/2025 (summer)
Duration 30
USOS code 03-AP-JJMT


Module aim (aims)

The aim of the lecture is to present the diversity of Jewish identities in the contemporary world and to show the contemporary face of Judaism, which seems to be the most complex and at the same time the least known phenomenon in the entire history of Jews. The attitude of contemporary Jews to other nations and other religions complements the reflections undertaken within the framework of the planned module.

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. 


Polarity as a key to understanding Jewish thought. Stages of development of Judaism: biblical Judaism, rabbinic Judaism, modern Judaism


The essence of Judaism. Variability and continuity in the Jewish tradition. The development of Jewish religious thought in modern times. The influence of the Haskalah, the ideas of Zionism and emancipation on the development and shape of contemporary Judaism


Contemporary currents of Jewish philosophy (essential, existential, reconstructionist). The influence of modern philosophy on the development of Judaism


Directions and factions in contemporary Judaism: orthodoxy, reform, conservatism. Differences and similarities between Jewish denominations


The spiritual and material heritage of the Jews in Europe. Characteristics of Ashkenazi and Sephardic traditions. The phenomenon of Hasidic piety


Jewish religious law, rituals and religious holidays. Jewish religious education


The attitude of Jews and Judaism to other nations and religions. The problems of the Jews in the modern world

Reading list


  1. A. M. Eisen, Rethinking Modern Judaism, Chicago 1998.
  2. H. M. Sachar, The Course of Modern Jewish History, New York 1990.
  3. A. Unterman, Jews: Their Religious Beliefs arid Practices, Boston 1981.
  4. P. Johnson, A History of the Jews, New York 1987.


  1. R. Patai, E. S. Goldsmith (red.), Thinkers and Teachers of Modern Judaism, New York 1994.
  2. S. Noveck (red.), Great Jewish Thinkers of the Twentieth Century, Washington 1963.