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Rise of the Rabbis

What they're saying

"A star line up of charismatic professors, each teaching in their areas of expertise."   - Me'ah Online participant

Join other adult learners on a journey through one of the most transformational periods in Judaism. Examine the discourse of the classical rabbis and uncover how Talmudic argument and biblical interpretation shapes contemporary Jewish thought and practice.

Immerse yourself in the core texts that form the basis of Jewish beliefs, practice, and community today.

Through engaging video lectures and probing discussion questions, you will tour through the diverse world of Jewish sects and varying religious practices that flourished in ancient Israel and Babylonia from the aftermath of the Bible to first century Judaism.

Lecture Topics

Analyze how contemporary Jewish diversity compares to the proliferation of Jewish sects in the ancient world.

Examine the agendas of the Mishna Rabbis: were they dogmatic exclusivists, or precursors to pluralistic, “big-tent” Judaism?

Explore gender and the Talmud: Were the rabbis “sex-positive?”


Course Length: 10 sessions
Course Fee: $45 per participant

Your Instructors

Professor Christine Hayes with border

Professor Christine Hayes 

Professor Hayes is a specialist in the history and literature of Judaism in late antiquity. Before joining the Yale faculty, Professor Hayes taught at Princeton University. Her most recent book, What’s Divine about Divine Law?, received numerous awards, including the 2015 National Jewish Book Award. Her class on the Hebrew Bible was selected for the pilot program of "Yale University Open Courses," and has subsequently been one of the most watched online courses about classical Judaica.

Rabbi Jane Kanarek with border

Rabbi Jane Kanarek 

Rabbi Kanarek teaches Talmud, Midrash and Jewish law at the Hebrew College Rabbinical School. Her book, Biblical Narrative and the Formation of Rabbinic Law, examines how the “webbed nature of rabbinic legal reading … is simultaneously law and story.” Rabbi Kanarek is part of Tal Ilan's Feminist Talmud Commentary project and a member of the Rabbinical Assembly's Committee on Jewish Law and Standards.

Professor Jonathan Klawans with Border

Professor Jonathan Klawans 

Professor Klawans is a specialist in the religion and religious literature of Judaism in late antiquity. Dr. Klawans teaches courses in Western Religion, the Hebrew Bible, the Dead Sea Scrolls, ancient Jewish history and rabbinic literature at Boston University and Hebrew College. He has published articles in journals such as AJS Review, Harvard Theological Review, Journal of Jewish Studies, New Testament Studies and Religious Studies Review.

Rabbi Micha'el Rosenberg with Border

Rabbi Micha’el Rosenberg 

Rabbi Rosenberg focuses on the intersection of Jewish studies and legal theory. Prior to joining the faculty at Hebrew College, he served as rabbi of the Fort Tryon Jewish Center and an adjunct professor of Talmud and codes at the Jewish Theological Seminary, both in New York City. He has taught Bible, Talmud and halakhah (Jewish law) in a variety of settings, including the Drisha Institute for Jewish Education and the National Havurah Institute. An alumnus of the Wexner Graduate Fellowship program and Harvard College, Rabbi Rosenberg holds a doctorate in Talmud and Rabbinic literature.


Download the course syllabus.
Review our Frequently Asked Questions.

Me’ah Online is a program of Hebrew College. No prior formal Jewish education or knowledge of Hebrew is required. We welcome interested adult learners of all backgrounds.


Bernice Lerner
Dean, Adult Learning