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Judaic Studies | Classics | Studies in Religion | Philosophy | Brooklyn College Library

JUST/CLAS/RELG 3022 and PHIL 3729: Searching for God: Home

Ancient Greeks, Jews, and Christians

COVID 19 Guidelines

Brooklyn College Returning Safely Together. Returning Safely Together  resources for students, faculty, staff and visitors.


Professor David Brodsky.

Instructor: Prof. David Brodsky

Office hours: Spring 2023; Thursdays 12:30-1:30pm (or by appointment)

Contact Information:

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Note on course lnks to readings on this course website:

oer logo blue, red and green.There is no required textbook for this class.

This course is a zero cost/open educational resources (ztc/oer) course.  That means there is no textbook students need to purchase. All materials are available freely to students.

Please notify the Professor RIGHT AWAY if you discover any broken links. Professor will try to provide you with updated links as soon as they are made aware of the problem. Please also expect to be responsible to search for sources of broken links for yourself so that you can come to class prepared as best you can.

Print syllabus - select to download.

Download print syllabus (word).
NOTE: Course website links more up-to-date than print syllabus.

Bulletin Description

History of theology in the Mediterranean basin from ancient through medieval periods.

Department Goals Addressed by Course

  1. Demonstrate the ability to analyze primary and secondary sources relating to Jewish history and culture.
  2. Situate those sources within their historical, political, and religious cross-cultural contexts.
  3. Identify key periods, terms, and geographic areas central to Jewish history and culture.
  4. Reason, evaluate, and challenge evidence and arguments in a critical and comparative manner.
  5. Write and communicate orally more clearly and concisely.
  6. Use general library, digital, and archival research.
  7. Use appropriate standards of academic integrity in research and writing, including proper source citation in footnotes and bibliography.

Objectives of Course

The course will show how 8th century BCE Mediterranean notions of god came to be replaced by successively philosophical theology based largely in the notion of the perfection and unchangeability of God. Students will learn how this theology came to dominate Late Antique and Medieval notions of God far beyond the bounds of the typical places we would expect to find it (i.e., the writings of philosophers), and that even those oases of such thought (as in much of the Talmud) were probably actively resisting this dominant trend.   

Outcomes Anticipated for Course

Students will learn the history of theology pertaining to this subject from the 8th century BCE through the 13th century CE with a special focus on their impact on Hellenistic, Jewish,and Christian theologies. In the end, students should have a better sense of the varieties of Mediterranean theologies and what motivated them to develop as they did.

Course Evaluation Criteria

Class will operate as a seminar where students are expected to participate actively in class discussions, based on having read the assignments and bringing in prepared comments and questions for discussion. Students must mark their texts with comments, take notes while reading and analyzing the sources with their study partners. Thoughtful comments, regular participation in discussion, and engaging with other students’ comments are key elements of successful class participation.

  • Midterm Exam: 25%
  • Term Paper (8-10 page): 25%
  • Participation (in class and on Discord): 25%
  • Final Examination: 25%

You are to write an 8-10 page research paper on a topic of your choice (pending approval by me) that directly relates to the course. Easy ways of coming up with a topic are to develop one of the units or sub-units into a paper (e.g., the theology of Ugarit, Plato, Maimonides, Aquinas, etc.) or to develop a sub-theme across units (e.g., the development of the concept of the logos from Parmenides through Plotinus, Targum, and the Gospel of John).

Due dates for Term paper:

  • Topic: You must submit a topic for approval by the end of Week 3 (Friday, 5 PM).
  • Bibliography: You must submit a bibliography by the end of Week 5 (Friday, 5 PM).
  • Outline: Due by end of Week 8 (Friday, 5 PM).
  • Rough Draft: Due by end of Week 10 (Friday, 5 PM).
  • Final Draft: Due by end of Week 14 (Friday, 5 PM).

Learn tips and tricks for finding, creating and citing your sources from your Brooklyn College Librarians.

  1. Cite Your Sources
  2. Research - Judaic Studies
  3. Center for Learning holds online tutoring sessions, including to help your writing.
  • Course objectives and outcomes will be assessed at each session, as students lead and contribute to discussions of key themes and issues by reading and commenting on texts in class.
  • In the term paper, students will identify literary texts that reflect key themes and concepts and students will demonstrate their ability to present a thesis supported by relevant texts. The idea of the rough draft is to get feedback for the final paper. Students who get the rough draft in on time should therefore be able to rewrite it with input from my comments for the final draft. The final draft may not be rewritten for a better grade. Students who engage in cheating or plagiarism on the paper will receive a zero for the assignment, an F for the semester, and a recommendation to the college that they be expelled from school.
  • The midterm and final examinations will give students the opportunity to respond to a series of questions to demonstrate their knowledge about the authors and works read and about the ways in which these ethical issues are addressed in the various sources. The best way to prepare for them is to do the readings on time and come to class. Then, step back and ask yourselves what was the main point(s) of each unit and what was our basis for drawing those conclusions. That will be the focus of the exam questions.

Students are expected to have done the readings, attend, and participate in class discussion. Unexcused absences and late attendance will count against this grade.

Note: If the class is conducted virtually (e.g., on Zoom), students must have their videos on to get participation credit. Feel free to use the Zoom Backgrounds feature to obscure any distractions in the background where you are seated during class time.

CUNY Policies

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The Brooklyn College Center for Student Disability Services external link. is back to working in-person on campus, though you can still reach out via email and phone. Please email them at for assistance.

Location: 138 Roosevelt Hall
Phone: 718.951.5538
FAX: 718.951.4442
Department Office Hours:

  • Monday: 9 a.m.–4:45 p.m.
  • Tuesday: 9 a.m.–4:45 p.m.
  • Wednesday: 9 a.m.–6:45 p.m.
  • Thursday: 9 a.m.–6:45 p.m.
  • Friday: 9 a.m.–4:45 p.m.

Note: Office hours during summer and winter intersession breaks varies.

Students should inform the professor if they have a disability or any other situation that may require Section 504/ADA accommodations.  The faculty and staff will attempt to work out whatever arrangements are necessary.

Please provide your professor with your course accommodation form and discuss your specific accommodation with your professor as soon as possible to ensure accommodations are met in a timely fashion.

In order to receive academic accommodations students must first be registered with the Center for Student Disability Services. Students who have a documented disability or who suspect that they might have a disability are invited to set up an appointment with the Director of the Center for Student Disability Services, Ms. Valerie Stewart-Lovell or the Assistant Director, Josephine Patterson or their general email

Center for Student Disability Services (CSDS) Mission:
It is the mission of the Center for Student Disability Services (CSDS) to ensure that students with disabilities have equal access to all campus facilities, curricula, and activities. The program’s objective focuses on providing students with reasonable disability-related accommodations and the opportunity to maximize their academic success at Brooklyn College. The goal is to ensure an inclusive environment while maintaining and enhancing the college’s academic excellence by providing students with disabilities the opportunity to achieve their highest possible academic potential.

Academic dishonesty of any type, including cheating and plagiarism, is unacceptable at Brooklyn College. Cheating is any misrepresentation in academic work. Plagiarism is the representation of another person’s work, words, or ideas as your own. Students should consult the Brooklyn College Student Handbook for a fuller, more specific discussion of related academic integrity standards.

Academic dishonesty is punishable by failure of the “…test, examination, term paper or other assignment on which cheating occurred” (Faculty Council, May 18, 1954).

In addition, disciplinary proceedings in cases of academic dishonesty may result in penalties of admonition, warning, censure, disciplinary probation, restitution, suspension, expulsion, complaint to civil authorities, or ejection (Adopted by Policy Council, May 8, 1991).

NOTE: If you have a question about how to cite correctly ask your teacher BEFORE submitting your work.

  • The faculty and administration of Brooklyn College support an environment free from cheating and plagiarism.
  • Each student is responsible for being aware of what constitutes cheating and plagiarism and for avoiding both.
  • View complete text of CUNY Academic Integrity Policy and Brooklyn College procedure for policy implementation.
  • If a faculty member suspects a violation of academic integrity and, upon investigation, confirms that violation, or if the student admits the violation, the faculty member must report the violation.
  • Please read the section entitled “Academic Regulations and Procedures” in the Brooklyn College Undergraduate Bulletin or Graduate Bulletin for a complete listing of academic regulations of the College.

Bereavement Policy:

  • Students who experience the death of a loved one must contact the Division of Student Affairs, 2113 Boylan Hall, if they wish to implement either the Standard Bereavement Procedure or the Leave of Absence Bereavement Procedure. The Division of Student Affairs has the right to request a document that verifies the death (e.g., a funeral program or death notice). Contact Email:
  • Typically, this death involves that of a family member, in parallel to the bereavement policy for faculty and staff. However, it is up to the discretion of the Division of Student Affairs to determine if a death outside of the immediate family warrants implementation of the student bereavement policy.
  •  As an option, and in consultation with the Division of Student Affairs, students may take the Leave of Absence Bereavement after the Standard Bereavement.
  • Reference to the Student Bereavement Policies will be noted on course syllabi.
  • Students requesting a religious accommodation should contact the Division of Student Affairs as well. The chief student affairs officer, or a designee, and the student will engage in an interactive process with the goal of finding an acceptable accommodation.

Bereavement Procedure:

  • Upon approval from the Division of Student Affairs, the student is allowed one week, commencing from the day of notification to the Division of Student Affairs, of excused absence.
  • Should the student feel that he/she needs additional days, these should be discussed with individual course instructors and/or the Division of Student Affairs.
  • The Division of Student Affairs will contact the student’s faculty and academic staff of the student’s courses.
  • Faculty and academic staff will be advised that extensions must be granted to the student for the period of one week of excused absence.
  • Further extensions may be negotiated with the student when he or she returns to campus.
  • Students are encouraged to discuss options with their instructors.

Leave of Absence Bereavement Procedure:

  • Students may be allowed to withdraw from the semester in which the death occurs.
  • The Bereavement Leave of Absence is for one semester only.
  • Students who have opted to take the Bereavement Leave of Absence and have already attended classes for the semester of the leave will be allowed to re-enter the following semester without having to reapply to the college.
  • Students who wish to take the leave of absence prior to the beginning of the semester will be required to reapply for the following semester.
  • Students who are in good academic standing will be given the opportunity to successfully complete the credits for the semester in which they return.
  • Students will consult with the Division of Student Affairs, on a case-by-case basis, as to whether they should withdraw from their courses during this leave of absence or to request incompletes from the faculty member.
  •  Given that there may be a potential impact on financial aid, students who receive financial aid and who take the Bereavement Leave of Absence, upon arrangement with the Division of Student Affairs, will meet with a financial aid adviser prior to taking this option.
  • The New York State Education Law provides that no student shall be expelled or refused admission to an institution of higher education because he or she is unable to attend classes or participate in examinations or study or work requirements on any particular day or days because of religious beliefs.
  • Students who are unable to attend classes on a particular day or days because of religious beliefs will be excused from any examination or study or work requirements.
  • Faculty must make good-faith efforts to provide students absent from class because of religious beliefs equivalent opportunities to make up the work missed; no additional fees may be charged for this consideration.
  • If classes, examinations, or study or work requirements occur on Friday after 4 p.m. or on Saturday, similar or makeup classes, examinations, or study or work requirements will be made available on other days, where possible and practical.
  • The faculty and the administration will not allow any adverse or prejudicial effects to accrue to students availing themselves of this regulation.
  • If students have complaints about the application of this policy, they are entitled to bring action or a proceeding for enforcement of their rights in the Supreme Court of Kings County