Hebrew Studies

Hebrew Culture From the Bible to Popular Movies [Full]

Yair Mazor, Professor

Course: HEBR ST 192, SEM 001
Class Number: 26593
Credits: 3 HU
Time: MW 2:00 – 3:15 PM
Place: BOL 277

Course Description:

This first year seminar ( FYS ) combines the Bible with contemporary Hebrew culture ( popular movies ). This way the student will be acquainted with Hebrew culture from both polar ends: the misty, distant past and the very current present. Regarding the Bible, this FYS will share with the student all he/she wanted to know about the Bible (selected parts of the Bible) and never dared to ask. This part of the FYS provides with provocative, novel, innovative answers to some of the most challenging questions introduced by the Hebrew Bible. Was Noah (the flood, the ark) as righteous as one may assume? Did God confer upon Adam the rewarding capacity to be a verbal creator? Did Eve was truly tempted to eat the forbidden fruit due to sensual, even sexual reasons? Did Eve’s intellectual faculties eclipse Adam’s? Was Samson a mighty hero or just a childish, immature, weak person who was regretfully oblivious to his reality? Why did Abraham sell to Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, his wife Sarah? What crossed his mind when he knew that his wife, Sarah, is sexually intimate with the king of Egypt? Who are the two “Abrahams” in the story of the sacrifice of Isaac? Why did Jacob keep silent when he was notified that his beloved daughter, Dina, was brutally raped and defiled? And more...

This part of the FYS will include watching movies on Biblical themes which will be addressed through the discussions of the selection of the Biblical chapters.

The second part of the FYS focuses on contemporary, popular Hebrew movies from artistic, social and ideological perspectives. The selected movies are engaging, intellectually challenging, compelling, funny, somber, entertaining and much fun. Each movie will be analyzed in the class while attempting to unearth its latent meaning and message which are to be traced under the upper surface of plot, situations, characters and chronicles.


Ongoing class attendance, a very active, vital class participation, one presentation to be introduced to the class on one of the topics in focus, two analytical essays. The second one is considered a final, take home exam. The reading list is introduced in detail in FYS syllabus.

About the Instructor:

Who is the professor? He is Yair Mazor. Both his given name and surname are Biblical names, meaning light and cure. The professor has taught during the last 37 years in universities in U.S.A., Europe and Israel. Years ago, he was a combat paratrooper who fought in wars and later became an instructor of parachuting and sky-diving. However, those days of being tough are over...Dr.Mazor is a very patient, easy going professor, always happy to listen to the student, to help the student, to encourage the student, to be as compassionate and understanding as possible .