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A Goy Who Speaks Yiddish
Christians and the Jewish Language in Early Modern Germany

Aya Elyada


280 pp.
12 illustrations.
ISBN: 9780804781930
Cloth $60.00
ISBN: 9780804782821
E-book $60.00

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Author Info
"Elyada's systematic study of Christian interest in Jewish vernacular literature elucidates how knowledge circulated between Jews and Christians in German lands."—Magda Teter, American Historical Review

"Here, Elyada demonstrates in an exemplary manner how sociolinguistic theory and method in the hands of a conscientious historian can lead to truly innovative research."—Marion Aptroot, Heinrich Heine University, Dusseldorf

This book explores the unique phenomenon of Christian engagement with Yiddish language and literature from the beginning of the sixteenth century to the late eighteenth century. By exploring the motivations for Christian interest in Yiddish, and the differing ways in which Yiddish was discussed and treated in Christian texts, A Goy Who Speaks Yiddish addresses a wide array of issues, most notably Christian Hebraism, Protestant theology, early modern Yiddish culture, and the social and cultural history of language in early modern Europe.

Elyada's analysis of a wide range of philological and theological works, as well as textbooks, dictionaries, ethnographical writings, and translations, demonstrates that Christian Yiddishism had implications beyond its purely linguistic and philological dimensions. Indeed, Christian texts on Yiddish reveal not only the ways in which Christians perceived and defined Jews and Judaism, but also, in a contrasting vein, how they viewed their own language, religion, and culture.

Aya Elyada is Assistant Professor of History at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Subject links:
    History — Jewish
    History — European
Series link:      Stanford Studies in Jewish History and Culture

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