Download A Goy Who Speaks Yiddish: Christians and the Jewish Language by Aya Elyada PDF

By Aya Elyada

This publication explores the original phenomenon of Christian engagement with Yiddish language and literature from the start of the 16th century to the overdue eighteenth century. through exploring the motivations for Christian curiosity in Yiddish, and the differing ways that Yiddish was once mentioned and handled in Christian texts, A Goy Who Speaks Yiddish addresses a big selection of concerns, so much significantly Christian Hebraism, Protestant theology, early sleek Yiddish tradition, and the social and cultural heritage of language in early smooth Europe.

Elyada’s research of quite a lot of philological and theological works, in addition to textbooks, dictionaries, ethnographical writings, and translations, demonstrates that Christian Yiddishism had implications past its in basic terms linguistic and philological dimensions. certainly, Christian texts on Yiddish demonstrate not just the ways that Christians perceived and outlined Jews and Judaism, but additionally, in a contrasting vein, how they seen their very own language, faith, and culture.

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Additional resources for A Goy Who Speaks Yiddish: Christians and the Jewish Language in Early Modern Germany

Sample text

By this he attempts to create a pretended alliance with his Jewish readers: if Hebrew has become a tool in the hands of Christians for anti-Jewish polemics, here, in Yiddish, his readers would find comfort (nekhomes) and reassurance. In other words, Müller was using the high degree of intimacy and solidarity produced by the use of Yiddish in order to convey the message that even if works in Hebrew could not always be trusted, for they might have been written by Christians, works in Yiddish were safe, for they had surely come from inside the Jewish community.

If it were written entirely in Hebrew, I might have believed it; but not like this. 59 But apart from these extreme reactions, it seems that the overall Jewish stance was one of bewilderment as well as concern that these Christian works in the Jewish language would eventually succeed in their mission. As put forward by the above-mentioned Jew in his conversation with Callenberg’s assistant, “our people . . ”60 The importance of Yiddish for the missionary cause persisted beyond the attempts to convince Jews to convert to Christianity.

Each of these reasons presents a different aspect of the relation between philology and theology, and of the attempt of Protestant scholars to use the philological knowledge of Yiddish for their own theological purposes. 21 O n e Yiddish in the Judenmission 22 Dating back to the days of the apostles, the long-standing Christian ambition to convert the Jews to Christianity received a new impetus with the Reformation and the beginning of the Protestant movement. In his work Daß Jesus Christus ein geborner Jude sei (That Jesus Christ was born a Jew; 1523), Martin Luther presented an optimistic view regarding the possible conversion of Jews to his version of Christianity.

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