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A Goy Who Speaks YiddishChristians and the Jewish Language in Early Modern Germany$
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Aya Elyada

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780804781930

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804781930.001.0001

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Christian Hebrew and Jewish Yiddish in Early Modern Germany

Christian Hebrew and Jewish Yiddish in Early Modern Germany

(p.172) Nine Christian Hebrew and Jewish Yiddish in Early Modern Germany
A Goy Who Speaks Yiddish
Stanford University Press

Christian scholars' preoccupation with the Jewish language in early modern Germany was founded on the close affinity between Yiddish and Hebrew. First, Christian interest in Yiddish was aroused mainly by its linguistic relation to Hebrew—even more than its close relation to German. Second, Yiddish's relation to the Hebrew language played an important role in shaping the attitudes of Christians toward the Jewish-German language. Given that many of the writings of Christian Hebraists showed deep appreciation and even admiration for the Hebrew language, the link between Yiddish and the holy tongue might be expected to also create a more positive image of the latter. However, what happened was the exact opposite. This chapter first examines the claim that Hebrew, after being replaced by Yiddish, ceased to be the language of the German Jews, and then turns to the distinction between biblical Jews and modern Jews, as highlighted by Protestant writings on Jews and Judaism. It concludes by considering the Protestant Church's claim that it was the “New Israel,” and its rejection of the Jews as the “Chosen People.”.

Keywords:   Jewish language, Yiddish language, Jews, Germany, Hebrew language, Christians, Judaism, Protestant Church, New Israel, Chosen People

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