Seminar Syllabus – Italian 298

Published: September 26, 2016

ITAL 298, Fall 2016
“Rome and the Jews”
Prof. Daniel Stein Kokin

The historical relationship between the city of Rome and the Jewish people is fraught with paradox. As capital of a mighty empire and missionizing church, Rome for Jews has often appeared a source of unyielding oppression and persecution. Yet Jews have lived continuously in Rome for more than two thousand years, longer than in virtually any other city in the world. According to legend, even the Messiah is among them, biding his time in Rome until the end of days. Rome for the Jews is thus at once symbolic of exile and home, of destruction and redemption. In this seminar we will investigate the significance of Rome for Jewish history and identity. We will compare and contrast Rome and Israel as chosen nations invested with world-historical purpose; explore the tradition of Rome as the biblical Edom; trace the links between Rome and Jewish messianism; and consider the unique features and experience of the Roman Jewish community. In sum, this seminar will offer an in-depth examination of the vexed ties binding the “eternal city” and “immortal people” (as Mark Twain described the Jews).[1]