Jessica Andruss headshot

Jessica H. Andruss

Assistant Professor
Unit: College of Arts and Sciences
Department: Department of Religious Studies
Office location and address
Gibson 423
1540 Jefferson Park Ave
Charlottesville, Virginia 22903
AB, Kenyon College
MA, University of California Santa Barbara
MA, The Ohio State University
PhD, University of Chicago
COLA 1500: College Advising Seminars
Credits: 1
COLA courses are 1-credit seminars capped at 18 first-year students, all of whom are assigned to the instructor as advisees. They are topically focused on an area identified by the faculty member; they also include a significant advising component centered on undergraduate issues (e.g., choosing a major, study abroad opportunities, undergraduate research, etc.). For detailed descriptions see
RELJ 2024: Jewish-Muslim Relations
Credits: 3
Jewish and Muslim communities share a complex history of interaction, spanning from seventh-century Arabia to the present day, and including instances of collaboration as well as moments of violence. Our course examines this dynamic relationship through documentary and literary sources. We focus on points of contact between Muslims and Jews in contexts ranging from battlefields to universities, from religious discourse to international politics.
RELG 2820: Jerusalem
Credits: 3
This course traces the history of Jerusalem with a focus on its significance in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. How has Jerusalem been experienced and interpreted as sacred within these religious communities? How have they expressed their attachments to this contested space from antiquity to modern times? Discussion will be rooted in primary texts from Jewish, Christian, and Muslim sources, with attention to their historical context.
RELJ 3100: Medieval Jewish Thought
Credits: 3
This course introduces the medieval Jewish intellectual tradition (9th-13th centuries) in its cultural and historical context. We will explore key themes such as the nature of God, prophecy, exile, the status of Scripture, the history of religions, and the quest for spiritual perfection. Readings will be drawn from philosophical, theological, exegetical, pietistic and mystical texts, including works from Saadia Gaon, Judah Halevi, and Maimonides.
RELJ 3355: Prophecy in Islam and Judaism
Credits: 3
Prophecy provides the theme for our comparative inquiry into two sacred scriptures (the Qur'an and the Hebrew Bible) alongside the rich traditions of Muslim and Jewish interpretive literature. We will consider narratives about specific prophets, medieval debates between and within Muslim and Jewish communities about the status and function of prophecy within their traditions, and modern theoretical approaches to prophecy.
RELJ 3559: New Course in Judaism
Credits: 1–4
This course provides the opportunity to offer a new topic in the subject of Judaism.
RELG 4900: Distinguished Major Thesis
Credits: 3
Students write a thesis, directed by a member of the department, focusing on a specific problem in the theoretical, historical or philosophical study of religion or a specific religious tradition. The thesis grows out of the project proposal and annotated bibliography developed in the Research Methods seminar. Prerequisite: Selection by faculty for Distinguished Major Program and completion of RELG 4800.
RELS 4995: Independent Research
Credits: 1–6
Systematic readings in a selected topic under detailed supervision. Prerequisite: Permission of departmental advisor and instructor.
RELJ 5145: Medieval Jewish Thought
Credits: 3
Students explore the gems of the medieval Jewish intellectual tradition (9th-13th centuries), considering models of theology, exegesis, pietism, belles lettres, ethics, and mysticism. Focus on the development of foundational religious ideas and innovative literary forms, in historical and cultural context, with attention to parallels in the Islamic and Christian traditions.
RELI 5540: Seminar in Islamic Studies
Credits: 3
Topics in Islamic Studies
RELJ 5559: New Course in Judaism
Credits: 3
This course provides the opportunity to offer a new course in the subject of Judaism
RELS 8500: Topics for Supervised Study and Research
Credits: 1–6
This topical course provides Master's and Doctoral students in Religious Studies an opportunity for advanced coursework in selected, established areas of the department's curriculum.
RELG 8740: Mediterranean Cultural Encounters Tutorial
Credits: 3
Study of cultural encounters between Jews, Christians, and Muslims in the Mediterranean world, ca. 500-1300. The tutorial explores themes such as translation movements, science, exegesis, conversion and polemic, inviting broad comparison of cultural and intellectual encounters between communities.
RELS 8960: Thesis Research
Credits: 3
Research on problems leading to a master's thesis.
RELS 8995: Research
Credits: 1–12
Systematic readings in a selected topic under detailed supervision.
RELS 8998: Non-Topical Research, Preparation for Research
Credits: 1–12
For master's research, taken before a thesis director has been selected.
RELS 8999: Non-Topical Research
Credits: 1–12
For master's thesis, taken under the supervision of a thesis director.
RELS 9998: Non-Topical Research, Preparation for Doctoral Research
Credits: 1–12
For doctoral research, taken before a dissertation director has been selected.
RELS 9999: Non-Topical Research
Credits: 1–12
For doctoral dissertation, taken under the supervision of a dissertation director.