By Aya Elyada
Elyada’s research of a variety of philological and theological works, in addition to textbooks, dictionaries, ethnographical writings, and translations, demonstrates that Christian Yiddishism had implications past its basically linguistic and philological dimensions. certainly, Christian texts on Yiddish display not just the ways that Christians perceived and outlined Jews and Judaism, but in addition, 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
Another important factor discussed is the stance of the authors toward their own German language, to which they compared the German of the Jews. The importance attached to the German language as a major constituent of German national consciousness, and the efforts to cultivate the language and purify it from foreign elements, were central motifs in the discourse on language in early modern Germany; this possible influence on the way German authors perceived the Jewish-German language should not be overlooked.
11 Half a century later the Protestant reformer and professor of Hebrew and theology at Strasbourg, Magister Elias Schadeus, published another Yiddish translation of Luther’s New Testament. ”13 Apart from the New Testament, the Hebrew Bible too was translated into Yiddish for missionary purposes. 1. Title page of Elias Schadeus’ Yiddish translation of five books of the New Testament (Strasbourg 1592). Source: Sammlung Tychsen, Harald Fischer Verlag. 26 Yiddish in the Service of Christian Theology aulus Fagius in Constance.
A more popular orientation characterizes the Christian writings on Yiddish discussed in the second part of the book. Its title, “Yiddish in the Service of Jewish Deception,” indicates the common notion of the time, according to which the Jews used their special language for illicit and even criminal purposes. The image of Yiddish as a secret language, which came forward in the Christian discourse on Jewish blasphemies and anti-Christian expressions, is thus extended from the religious domain into the more secular sphere of social and economic relations.
A Goy Who Speaks Yiddish: Christians and the Jewish Language in Early Modern Germany by Aya Elyada