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Confessions of the ShtetlConverts from Judaism in Imperial Russia, 1817-1906$
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Ellie R. Schainker

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780804798280

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804798280.001.0001

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The Missionizing Marketplace

The Missionizing Marketplace

Chapter:
(p.47) Chapter 2 The Missionizing Marketplace
Source:
Confessions of the Shtetl
Author(s):

Ellie R. Schainker

Publisher:
Stanford University Press
DOI:10.11126/stanford/9780804798280.003.0003

Chapter 2 uses the story of the convert from Judaism turned missionary Alexander Alekseev to highlight the overall reactive missionary policy of the state and the Orthodox Church with regard to Jews. The chapter analyzes self-appointed convert missionaries, their struggles with the strict translation politics of the Holy Synod, and how many leveraged foreign, non-Orthodox investments in proselytizing Jews to access Hebrew and Yiddish publications of scriptures. The intellectual and literary biographies of individual convert missionaries further illuminate how toleration and multiconfessionalism created ambivalence about proselytizing Jews, and how everyday Jewish encounters with Christianity were mediated by a range of religious groups beyond just the Russian Orthodox Church. These convert cum missionary stories are instructive for thinking about how converts navigated the multiconfessional landscape and were acutely aware of the marketplace of religion for Jews in a confessional state.

Keywords:   Jewish mission, missionaries, cantonist, translation politics, Alexander Alekseev, Orthodox Missionary Society, Russian Bible Society, Yakov Brafman, Holy Synod, philanthropy

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