About this Course
The Talmud is one of the richest and most complicated works of literature the world has ever known. Since being composed around 1500 years ago it has inspired not only religious reverence but significant intellectual engagement. In this course learners will be introduced to the unique characteristics of this text and the challenges that inhere in studying it while studying a chapter of the Talmud. Students of the course can expect to develop an appreciation for how the Talmud works and why it continues to inspire religious and intellectual devotion. They will be challenged to employ critical reading skills and to analyze legal and historical concepts.
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100% online courses

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Clock

Approx. 11 hours to complete

Suggested: 8 weeks of study, 1-2 hours/week
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English

Subtitles: English, Romanian
Globe

100% online courses

Start instantly and learn at your own schedule.
Clock

Approx. 11 hours to complete

Suggested: 8 weeks of study, 1-2 hours/week
Comment Dots

English

Subtitles: English, Romanian

Syllabus - What you will learn from this course

1

Section
Clock
2 hours to complete

Introducing the Talmud

The Talmud is a canonical work of Jewish literature that collects the ideas and arguments of rabbis who lived between the first and eighth centuries CE. This module explains the basics of how the Talmud was composed, why the Talmud matters and how it is accessed today. ...
Reading
5 videos (Total 33 min), 9 readings, 1 quiz
Video5 videos
Video 1 Why Study Talmud?5m
Video 2 Where Does the Talmud Come From?5m
Video 3 How the Talmud Works-An Overview6m
Video 4 The Talmud's Interpreters11m
Reading9 readings
Meet Your Professors10m
Grading & Logistics10m
Additional Resources10m
Special Thanks & Permissions10m
Full Glossary10m
Module 1 Glossary10m
Module 1 Rabbi Genealogy & Maps10m
Video 2 Texts & Translations10m
Video 3 Texts & Translations10m
Quiz1 practice exercises
Module 1 Quiz12m

2

Section
Clock
2 hours to complete

False Testimony From Bible to Rabbis

The Talmud relies heavily on the authority and substance of its canonical predecessor, the Hebrew Bible. This module charts a trajectory from the biblical origins of the treatment of false testimony in Deuteronomy through its treatment within the second temple apocryphal book Susannah and the early Rabbinic law code, the Mishnah. ...
Reading
4 videos (Total 31 min), 5 readings, 1 quiz
Video4 videos
Video 6 Evolution of Testimony Scenarios in Biblical, Second Temple and Rabbinic Literature8m
Video 7 Overview of Mishnah - What it is and how it works6m
Video 8 How Was the Mishnah Organized8m
Reading5 readings
Module 2 Glossary10m
Video 5 Text & Translations10m
Video 6 Texts & Translations10m
Video 7 Texts & Translations10m
Video 8 Texts & Translations10m
Quiz1 practice exercises
Module 2 Quiz12m

3

Section
Clock
1 hour to complete

Reading the Bible & Rabbinic Logic

Interpretation is a major component of Rabbinic literature and the Talmud. This module introduces the specific features of Rabbinic interpretation of the Hebrew Bible—its assumptions and its reading tools. ...
Reading
3 videos (Total 28 min), 4 readings, 1 quiz
Video3 videos
Video 10 Using Logic in Reading Critically7m
Video 11 Reading the Bible Like a Rabbi9m
Reading4 readings
Video 9 Texts & Translations10m
Module 3 Glossary10m
Video 10 Texts & Translations10m
Video 11 Texts & Translations10m
Quiz1 practice exercises
Module 3 Quiz10m

4

Section
Clock
1 hour to complete

Redaction & Textual Witnesses

Textual Criticism is a form of reading that looks to explain the meaning of a text by figuring out aspects of its composition history. This module will show how Talmudic passages are typically constructed and what scholars can do to figure out the original meaning of a text. ...
Reading
3 videos (Total 26 min), 4 readings, 1 quiz
Video3 videos
Video 13 How Loyally Were Materials Transmitted7m
Video 14 How Redactors Built a Talmudic Passage7m
Reading4 readings
Video12 Texts & Translations10m
Module 4 Glossary10m
Video 13 Texts & Translations10m
Video 14 Texts & Translations10m
Quiz1 practice exercises
Module 4 Quiz8m

5

Section
Clock
1 hour to complete

The Stam as Reader and Writer

The historical range of the different centuries of rabbinic literature makes it possible to take note of changes in the ways the different rabbis thought about the Bible and law. This module will demonstrate how later rabbis have a more abstract way of thinking about law while simultaneously having a more restrictive way of reading the Bible. ...
Reading
3 videos (Total 25 min), 3 readings, 1 quiz
Video3 videos
Video16a What is Legal Midrash?5m
Video 16b Mah Hatzad: Applying a Rabbinic Logical Tool8m
Reading3 readings
Video 15 Texts & Translations10m
Module 5 Glossary10m
Video 16b Texts & Translations10m
Quiz1 practice exercises
Module 5 Quiz10m

6

Section
Clock
2 hours to complete

Tosefta, Tannaitic Midrash and Palestinian Talmud

Rabbinic literature consists of multiple works in three genres—Midrash, Mishnah and Talmud. This module introduces each of these different genres with a comparative analysis of texts related to false testimony in works of each type. ...
Reading
4 videos (Total 35 min), 5 readings, 1 quiz
Video4 videos
Video 18 Mishnah-Tannaitic Midrash Comparison9m
Video 19 Palestinian Talmud9m
Video 20 Rabbis and Romans9m
Reading5 readings
Module 6 Glossary10m
Video 17 Texts & Translations10m
Video 18 Texts & Translations10m
Video 19 Texts & Translations10m
Video 20 Texts & Translations10m
Quiz1 practice exercises
Module 6 Quiz14m

7

Section
Clock
1 hour to complete

Narrative and History

The Talmud contains many stories that feature historical figures from the rabbinic period. In this module we will demonstrate the difficulty of reading these stories as history and model the use of literary tools for reading such materials. ...
Reading
3 videos (Total 23 min), 4 readings, 1 quiz
Video3 videos
Video 22 From Sects to Rabbis8m
Video 23 Parallel Narratives6m
Reading4 readings
Video 21 Texts & Translations10m
Module 7 Glossary10m
Video 22 Texts & Translations10m
Video 23 Texts & Translations10m
Quiz1 practice exercises
Module 7 Quiz12m

8

Section
Clock
2 hours to complete

Conclusion

While some of the material we have studied is unsettling, we need to bear in mind that much of it is rabbinic idealization or fantasy. This module goes through both the fantasy of rabbinic power and the realities of the importance of the Talmud in the post-Talmudic age. ...
Reading
3 videos (Total 74 min), 3 readings, 1 quiz
Video3 videos
Video 25 Reception and Impact4m
The Talmud MOOC - Live!1m
Reading3 readings
Video 24 Texts & Translations10m
Module 8 Glossary10m
Video 25 Texts & Translations10m
Quiz1 practice exercises
Module 8 Quiz8m
4.6

Top Reviews

By KRJan 20th 2017

Best course I've experienced on Coursera so far! Really engaging and not 'dumbed down'. Fantastic and charismatic professor and assistant. Already recommended the course to many friends.

By BLJan 8th 2017

This course is both a traditional and non-traditional Talmud course. The non-traditional gives a historic prospective of the basis of Talmud with a modern view of its derivation.

Instructor

Avatar

Barry Scott Wimpfheimer

Associate Professor

About Northwestern University

Northwestern University is a private research and teaching university with campuses in Evanston and Chicago, Illinois, and Doha, Qatar. Northwestern combines innovative teaching and pioneering research in a highly collaborative environment that transcends traditional academic boundaries. ...

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Once you enroll for a Certificate, you’ll have access to all videos, quizzes, and programming assignments (if applicable). Peer review assignments can only be submitted and reviewed once your session has begun. If you choose to explore the course without purchasing, you may not be able to access certain assignments.

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