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An Unusual RelationshipEvangelical Christians and Jews$
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Yaakov Ariel

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780814770689

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814770689.001.0001

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Evangelical Yiddish

Evangelical Yiddish

Christian Literature in a Jewish Language

(p.126) 7 Evangelical Yiddish
An Unusual Relationship

Yaakov Ariel

NYU Press

This chapter describes the emergence of the practice of Christian missionaries distributing literature in Yiddish. To many, Yiddish symbolized a unique culture that Jews had developed apart from the Christian society when they lived in Europe and in their first decades in the New World. Missionaries using Yiddish to promote Christian beliefs and agendas seemed almost unthinkable. However, evangelical missionaries and Jewish converts to Christianity created a lively Yiddish literary subculture. The chapter points to the existence of a rich and varied evangelical Yiddish literature, produced by hundreds of writers over the span of a few generations. These literary projects include a large number of tracts and pamphlets on Christian themes, such as the Messiah or the Trinity, a series of periodicals, the translation of the Scriptures into Yiddish, and biblical commentaries. Evangelical Christian Yiddish literature was in fact as rich and creative as Jewish forms of Yiddish literature.

Keywords:   Evangelical Yiddish, Christian missionaries, Jews, Yiddish literature, Christianity

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