University of Calgary Department of Religious Studies Course Outline
Prof. E. Segal
Department of
Religious Studies
University of Calgary
2500 University Drive N. W.
Calgary, Alberta
Canada T2N 1N4

Office: SS 1302
Phone: (403) 220-5886
Fax: (403) 210-0801


Religious Studies 469.02

Course Outline, Winter 2003
Advanced Studies in Judaism

Living Jewishly: Jewish Rituals and Observances

Class time: TR 9:30 - 10:45


Eliezer Segal


Social Sciences 1301

Office hours:

T 10:45 - 11:30; or
by appointment





World-Wide Web:

Material related to this course can be found at:


Course Description:

This seminar will explore the role of ritual and observance in Judaism, as the means through which sanctity is imprinted onto day-to-day existence.

In addition to outlining the principal rituals that govern the respective cycles of the day, week, month, year and lifetime, the course will pay atttention to the methodologies that may be utilized in describing the observances in historical and cross-cultural contexts.

The observances and rituals will be approached as dynamic entities that evolve over time through ongoing reinterpretations of traditions, borrowings from surrounding cultures, and adaptation to changing circumstances.

Among the topics to be dealt with in the classroom or in the students' research are the following:

Core Competencies:

The course's principal pedagogic objectives will be those of an upper-year seminar. As such, it will place a strong emphasis on the analysis of texts, and the critical assessment of scholarly literature. Students will further their skills in the various aspects of scholarly research, including the collecting of information; independent evaluation from a variety of methodological perspectives; and orderly presentation of their conclusions in written and oral form.

Course Requirements:



Date Due

% Weight


Paper #1

Presentation of a topic from Sperber, Why Jews Do What They Do

Topic should be chosen and researched in conjunction with the instructor.

This paper will serve as an introduction to the methods that can be applied to the study of Jewish observances and rituals.

Due March 4 2003

30 %


Paper #2

An original research essay on a topic in Jewish ritual and observance.

Due April 21 2003

40 %


Oral Presentation

of one of the written papers.

To be scheduled individually

15 %


Class Participation


15 %

There will not be a Registrar's office scheduled final examination in this course.

Some Recommended Works:


A numerical mark will be given for each course requirement. Following the final examination, a letter grade will be assigned on the following number and letter grade scheme (standardized within the Department of Religious Studies).

A 100 - 90 A- 89 - 85
B+ 84 - 80 B 79 - 75 B- 74 - 70
C+ 69 - 65 C 64 - 60 C- 59 - 55
D+ 54 - 50 D 49 - 45 F 44 or less


Students should be familiar with University regulations regarding academic integrity, as set down in the University Calendar

Academic Accommodation

It is a student's responsibility to request academic accommodation. If you are a student with a disability who may require academic accommodation and have not registered with the Disability Resource Centre, please contact their office at 220-8237. Your academic accommodation letters should be provided to your instructor no later than fourteen (14) days after the commencement of this course. Students who have not registered with the Disability Resource Centre are not eligible for formal academic accommodation.

(DRC web address is:

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