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The University of Southampton

HIST6103 Jews and Non-Jews: relations from antiquity to modernity

Module Overview

This module introduces the evidence and its problems relating to specific and crucial periods for the study of Jewish/non-Jewish relations, including Graeco-Roman antiquity; middle ages; early modern; and late modern.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • change and continuity in the nature of hostility towards Jews, including the appropriateness of using the modern concept of antisemitism to explain earlier manifestations of antipathy
  • change and continuity in the nature of positive reactions and responses towards Jews, including the concept of philosemitism
  • the creation of Jewish identities in relation to ‘others'
  • the creation of non-Jewish identities in relation to the ‘Jew'
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • evaluate specific moments in Jewish/non-Jewish relations and make connections across different historical, cultural and national contexts
  • integrate close textual analysis and contextual research
  • demonstrate confidence and independence of thought
  • synthesise and evaluate complex material
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • demonstrate originality and confidence in the scholarly application of knowledge, and the ability to advance that knowledge through research informed by the work of others
  • work independently and effectively using library, archival and internet resources and demonstrate efficient time management
  • give an effective oral presentation that engages and informs its audience
  • contribute to original and intellectually challenging discussion in a group environment, listening and responding to the views of others


This module introduces the evidence and its problems relating to specific and crucial periods for the study of Jewish/non-Jewish relations, including Graeco-Roman antiquity; middle ages; early modern; and late modern. It studies everyday interaction of Jews and non-Jews in various environments such as the Hellenistic world, the Roman Empire, medieval Europe; early modern England; nineteenth and twentieth century Britain, continental Europe and the USA. It also considers the influence of theology on the representation and treatment of the Jews in the Christian era. Theories of Jewish/non-Jewish relations, including the seminal work of James Parkes, will be used throughout. Some of the key areas to be addressed will include the nature of hostility towards Jews and whether modern concepts such as antisemitism are useful in interpreting earlier manifestations of antipathy. More positive responses to Jews and Judaism throughout the ages will also be explored as will the development of philosemitism in the early modern period. The variety of Jewish attitudes and responses to the non-Jewish world will be considered as will the construction of the ‘other' in the formation of Jewish and non-Jewish identities.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching methods include • a two hour weekly class over two semesters • independent study and research This MA module will be taught through seminars. The initial seminars will be cross chronological exploring key concepts and themes. Thereafter the seminars will explore these concepts and themes in specific case studies from antiquity to the present day. Additionally, you will be required to give at least one class presentation. Feedback on these presentations will be provided, giving you constructive criticism on content and communication skills. One specific presentation will be formally assessed covering academic content, quality of management and quality of communication. Training for this exercise will be provided on the Jewish History and Culture Research Skills module. Primary resources will be a prominent part of the seminars, with the aim of producing familiarity in handling and engaging with archive material and fostering the ability, through example and experience, of incorporating these texts into critical frameworks with original insight. Throughout the module you will be encouraged to pursue your own particular research interests and case studies and space will be allocated during the module to enable you to present your essay work in progress in a supportive and reciprocally challenging environment. Learning activities include You will be asked to prepare for each seminar by following the recommended reading and by preparing individual presentations on the examination of specific sources. Innovative or special features of this module (e.g. study visits, online support) • chronological range enabling analysis of concepts normally specific to one historical era • multi- and interdisciplinary approach

Independent Study276
Total study time300

Resources & Reading list

James Parkes (1969). Prelude to Dialogue: Jewish Christian Relationships. 

Diana Wood (ed.) (1992). Christianity and Judaism. 

David Berger (ed.) (1986). History and Hate: the Dimensions of Anti-Semitism. 

Sian Jones, Tony Kushner, and Sarah Pearce (eds.) (1997). Cultures of Ambivalence and Contempt. 


Assessment Strategy

Assessments designed to provide informal feedback • Non-assessed essays • Student presentations. • Student preparation of critical analyses of primary sources. • Group discussion.


MethodPercentage contribution
Essay  (4000 words) 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Coursework 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

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