University of Sydney Handbooks - 2013 Archive

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Jewish Civilisation, Thought and Culture

Jewish Civilisation, Thought and Culture (JCTC) is an interdisciplinary program which covers history, philosophy, literature, religion, ethics and cultural studies, administered by the School of Languages and Cultures (SLC).

Program structure and content
This course is a fascinating study of two millennia of Jewish Civilisation. Students will explore the development of the Jewish people from the time of Alexander the Great, experiencing their history, philosophy, literature and ethics.The course focuses on the historical evolution of Judaism, and how Jewish identity has been moulded by key Jewish thinkers and the Jewish historical experience. It traces this experience over five continents Asia, Africa, Europe, the Americas and Australia, looking at communities as far flung as the Jews in Kaifeng in China, Spanish Jewry and the history of Jews in Australia. The first year JCTC options can also lead to options in Modern Middle East and the Arab-Israeli conflict offered through the Department of Government and International Relations and the Department of History in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences.

Requirements for a major
Students who wish to major in Jewish Civilisation, Thought and Culture must complete 36 senior credit points normally consisting of;

  • JCTC2603 Jews Under the Crescent and the Cross
  • JCTC2604 From Expulsion to Regeneration
  • JCTC2605 From Emancipation to the Holocaust
  • JCTC2606 The Holocaust: History and Aftermath
  • JCTC2607 Israel in the Modern Middle East

and one cross-listed unit of study, either HSTY2607 Approaches to the Arab-Israeli Conflict or GOVT2702 The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict.

There are prerequisites, either JCTC1001 Palestine: From Rome to Islam, or Department of History prerequisites. This course is highly recommended to students with an interest in history, government or religion.

There are no foreign language requirements for undergraduate study as all units of study are conducted in English and use texts in English. Study of Hebrew is, however, encouraged in conjunction with JCTC units of study, and a basic knowledge of at least one language associated with the Jewish experience (either Hebrew Classical or Modern, or German) is required for honours and postgraduate study.

Up to 12 credit points from approved cross-listable units of study may be cross-listed towards the Jewish Civilisation, Thought and Culture major. Students should, however, plan their cross-listings carefully as no units of study can count towards more than one major. Please check the cross-listing schedule located on the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences website.

Sample pathway
The following is an example only.

  • Second year: JCTC2603, JCTC2604 and JCTC2607
  • Third year: 2 x JCTC units of study + HSTY2607 or GOVT2607.

There is a full exchange program with a number of universities, and students can spend a semester or a year on exchange.

Intending honours students must obtain a credit average or better in their JCTC majors and take at least 12 credit points (two units of study) in one relevant language. Exemptions may be granted if the proposed honours thesis topic does not require knowledge of Hebrew or another language. Intending honours students are also strongly advised to undertake an exchange semester. Honours students will undertake two seminars and write a 20,000 word thesis.

Contact/further information
Department website:

Course Coordinator: Professor Suzanne Rutland, Department of Hebrew, Biblical and Jewish Studies
Room 618 Brennan MacCallum Building A18
Phone: +61 2 9351 6662

or contact the SLC office, .