Yaakov Ariel is a Professor in the Department of Religious Studies. He received his B.A. (1979) in History and Political Science as well as an M.A. (1981) in History from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He then received an M.A. (1982) in Religious Studies, and Ph.D. (1986) from The Divinity School at the University of Chicago, where he wrote his doctoral dissertation on American fundamentalists and their attitudes towards the Jewish people and Zionism.
Before coming to the University of North Carolina, Ariel taught at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, where he was three times chosen "teacher of the year" by annual student surveys. Professor Ariel's areas of scholarly interest include: Judaism and Evangelical Christianity in America and the relationship between the two religious communities. He has investigated the evangelical messianic faith and its impact on Christian interest in Jews and Israel, and is currently studying the Jewish movement of Return to Tradition. Among his publications are the books: On Behalf of Israel: American Fundamentalist Attitudes Towards the Jewish People and Zionism (1991) and Evangelizing the Chosen People: Missions to the Jews in America 1880-2000 (2000) (awarded the American Society of Church History’s Albert C. Outler Prize). He has also published articles in journals such as Church History; Religion and American Culture; Fides et Historia; American Jewish Archives; Studies in Contemporary Jewry; and Studies in Church History. Promoting his areas of interest in the community at large, Ariel has also taken part in and organized seminars and colloquia on contemporary Judaism and Jewish-Christian relations. Ariel is currently the director of undergraduate studies in the Department of Religious Studies.
Jewish Studies Courses Taught:
JWST 34/RELI 34. “Introduction to Modern Judaism”
JWST 44/RELI 44. “Judaism in America”
JWST 78/RELI 78. “Judaism In Our Time”
JWST 73/RELI 73. “Religion In Modern Israel”
JWST 157/RELI 157. “Gender and Sexuality in Contemporary Judaism.”