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The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

The Faculty of Humanities


The Faculty of Humanities at the Hebrew University focuses on the study of virtually the whole scope of human civilization in the past and present, as expressed in language, literature, the visual and performing arts, material culture, folklore, philosophy, religion and history.   The scope of this scholarly activity is divided into four broad cultural areas:

1) Jewish civilization from its origins in the ancient Near East, through its manifestations today in Israel and the Diaspora; 2) the peoples and cultures of the Middle East, from the origins of recorded human existence, through the great civilizations in antiquity, the emergence of Islam and to the present day; 3) Western civilization, from the Classical period in the Mediterranean region, through the emergence of modern Europe and its cultural descendents in the Western Hemisphere; and, 4) the cultures in the continent of Asia, primarily the great civilizations of East and South Asia, but also that of the historically important Eurasian Steppe region.

The members of the Faculty are involved in studying the developments of individual cultural traditions, but also, the ongoing interaction and mutual influence between different peoples and cultures.

Teaching in the Faculty is organized in more than twenty specialized departments that are further concentrated under the aegis of five disciplinary schools: Arts, History, Language Sciences, Literatures, and Philosophy and Religion. 

Each school has its own special teaching program and other activities that transcend the programs of the specific departments, providing wider disciplinary training for undergraduate and graduate students, and a cooperative framework for faculty members (see below for the mission statements of the individual schools).  While much of the research in the Faculty is conducted by individual faculty members, often with support from outside research funds, much important research work is also conducted in and by some thirty research centers and major projects in the Faculty.  Research activities, both of the centers and of individual researchers, are coordinated, encouraged and facilitated by five Institutes: Archaeology, Asian and African Studies, Contemporary Jewry, Jewish Studies, and Western Culture.  These institutes also provide a forum for interaction between scholars working on similar cultural material, but specializing in different academic disciplines, and therefore complement the Schools mentioned above.

The Faculty of Humanities is currently engaged in laying the groundwork for new interdisciplinary programs for advanced students.  These include: a Center for Language, Logic and Cognition; Late Antiquity and its Legacy; East European Studies; and modern Israel Studies.  In addition, a group of Faculty members is involved in an exciting research initiative, a Center for Computing and Humanities, which will involve computer specialists, natural scientists and humanities scholars in joint projects.  Ongoing efforts also include cooperative ventures, both teaching and research oriented, with our colleagues in other faculties at the University, mainly the Social Sciences, Law, Social Work and Education.  Finally, we should note recent establishment of the Mandel School for the Advanced Studies of the Humanities, which has been founded through the generosity of the Mandel Foundation in the United States.  This will enable us strengthen our trans-disciplinary program in the Humanities for our best graduate students (M.A. and PhD) and post-doctorates.  The new Mandel School for Advanced Studies in the Humanities will be housed in a purpose built building that is currently in planning, and will be erected on the eastern side of the Mt. Scopus campus, overlooking the Judean Desert. 



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