• This course is offered as a biweekly course in 2023 Term 1. It is an in-person only course offered in Te Awamutu. This course has no distance learning component.

Dates & Times:

This class on the historical context for Jewish fundamentalism meets biweekly on Wednesday evenings from 6:30-8:30pm during school Terms. Our 2022 Term 4 sessions meet on the following dates:

  • Wed 15 February 2023, 6:30-8:30pm: Course Introduction; Jewish Fundamentalism: Historical Context Part 1: Genesis & Exodus

  • Wed 1 March 2023, 6:30-8:30pm: Jewish Fundamentalism: Historical Context Part 2: First and Second Temple Judaism

  • Wed 15 March 2023, 6:30-8:30pm: Why Judaism rejected Jesus and Other Messiahs; Gōg & Magōg; Jewish-Roman Wars; Bar Kokhba Rebellion

  • Wed 29 March 2023, 6:30-8:30pm: early Jewish Diaspora and other Messianic claimants


  • This four-week course is Part 1 of a longer course in our Contemporary Issues in Religion series that incorporates a detailed study of the history, context, and contemporary issues of religious fundamentalism, extremism and terrorism in all of the major faith traditions. The first term in our course will view the historical context of fundamentalism and extremism in the Jewish (and western) traditions, examining biblical accounts and historic precedents. Subsequent Terms will examine contemporary Jewish fundamentalism and the historic underpinnings and contemporary contexts of fundamentalism, extremism and terrorism in the Christian, Islamic, Hindu, Sikh and Buddhist traditions. Contemporary nationalist movements are also discussed.

  • A central theme of this multi-part series demonstrates that fundamentalism and extremism are not the sole domain of Islam, but rather part and parcel of all the world’s faith traditions.

  • Each course in this series is self-contained and can be taken independently of any other courses in the series or in any order.

  • Please note that this course offered as an in-person course in Te Awamutu only and at present has no distance-learning component

Course curriculum

    1. EarthDiverse Course Information

    1. Course goals:

    2. Suggested readings on religious fundamentalism, extremism and terrorism

Additional course info:

  • Videos and PDF content of class presentations or whiteboard notes are uploaded weekly after each live session
  • Begins on Wed 15 feb 2023
  • NZ time: Wednesdays 6:30 -8:30pm

Distance Learning:

  • Please note that this course does not have an on-line distance learning component and is in-person only. This course is only offered in Te Awamutu in the Waikato.


This Religious Diversity course is held at St John’s Anglican Church, 162 Arawata Street, Te Awamutu. Class sessions are held in the Meeting Room located behind the main church. The car park can be accessed around the corner on George Street. There is plenty of free parking available in the carpark just outside the classroom.

Meet our Instructor

Executive Director, Senior Lecturer Dr Todd Nachowitz, PhD

Dr Todd Nachowitz, PhD, is the Founder and Executive Director of EarthDiverse. Todd is a Hamilton-based lecturer, anthropologist, environmentalist and diversity educator. He previously taught in Religious Studies at the University of Waikato, teaching courses on Comparative Religion and Religious Fundamentalism & Extremism. Todd holds a Masters Degree in Development Anthropology from Syracuse University in upstate New York (1991) and a PhD from the University of Waikato (2015) in Political Science and Public Policy where he completed his thesis on diversity governance and the Indian diaspora in New Zealand.

Prior to settling in New Zealand in 1995, Todd lived and worked in the United States, India, Pakistan and Nepal. He spent 11 years in South Asia as the Academic Director for university study-abroad programmes in Varanasi, India (for the University of Wisconsin-Madison); Lahore, Pakistan (for the University of California-Berkeley); and Kathmandu, Nepal (for School for International Training, based in Brattleboro, Vermont, USA) focusing on language, culture and religion.

Todd speaks Hindi and Urdu, and is a specialist in comparative world religions and the history, religions, languages and cultures of South Asia. He also currently teaches our Hindi and Urdu language courses and the Religious Diversity courses at EarthDiverse.

Pricing options:

All prices in New Zealand dollars. Unwaged includes students, seniors and retirees.


  • All classes are taught from an objective point of view. These are classes about religion and religious behavior, taught from an anthropological and historical point of view, and are designed for participants to get a greater understanding of the depth and scope of the diversity that exists within the world’s various faith and belief traditions.

  • Any Term can be taken independently of the others, and there are no prerequisites for any of the Term courses.

  • All classes encourage questions and group discussion. There are no assignments, required readings, quizzes, tests or exams.

  • PDF copies of each class presentation are posted to the course webpage 1-2 days after each class and are available for all registered participants so that you are free to focus on class content rather than taking notes. You are most welcome to come, sit back, relax, take part in and enjoy the discussions!

  • Course fees include a short tea/coffee/snack break in the middle of each session.

  • There are no refunds for missed classes.

  • Guests of registered participants are welcome to attend a single class at no charge.

  • Certificates of Completion for any particular Term Course or Series are available for Professional Development purposes upon request at the end of each Term or Series.


  • There are no prerequisites for this course and new learners are welcomed to join at any time throughout the year.