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Skidmore College
First-Year Experience

Scribner Seminar Program
Course Description

Shakespeare was Jewish?

Instructor (s): Lary Opitz, Theater

Perhaps not, though a case can be made. Shakespeare and Judaism do, however, intersect in a number of ways. The study of Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice will play a central role in this seminar. Student will encounter a number of film versions and stage adaptations of the play while grappling with the question of whether Shakespeare’s work was anti-Semitic. Students will explore concepts of justice and mercy, racial stereotypes, usury, the history of anti-Semitism, Shakespeare’s knowledge of the Old Testament and the Talmud, and his influence on Yiddish theater.

Course Offered