Scholars 2007

2007 Past - Historians, Authors of Major Works of History

Elyada Aya

Tel Aviv University, School of History

"Early Modern Christian Literature on Yiddish in the German-Speaking World" 

Dr. Elyada is an assistant professor of history at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem since 2012. Before joining the Hebrew University she spent five years as a visiting PhD student at the University of Munich, and another three years as a visiting post-doctoral fellow at Duke University.

Her book, A Goy Who Speaks Yiddish: Christians and the Jewish Language in Early Modern Germany, has recently appeared with Stanford University Press (2012). The book explores the unique and unlikely phenomenon of “Christian Yiddishism” in early modern Germany, namely the Christian interest in and engagement with Yiddish language and literature from the beginning of the sixteenth century to the late eighteenth century. It explains why some Christians were preoccupied with Yiddish and discusses the various ways in which they depicted this Jewish language and literature in their writings. In the process, it sheds light on the broader linguistic, theological, cultural, and social concerns of early modern Christian authors and their intellectual environment.

Aya's main fields of interest are German and German-Jewish history and culture; Christian-Jewish relations; Yiddish language and literature; the history of the Yiddish-German encounter; and the social and cultural history of language and translation. Her current project explores the cultural history of German translations of Yiddish literature from the sixteenth century and up to the present day.


Summary of Research, September 2007