From the Age of Enlightenment on, attitudes to Yiddish language and culture have been ideologically motivated. Yiddish was variously perceived as a corrupt jargon or the quintessence of the Jewish soul, a propaganda tool or the idiom of the Jewish collective unconscious. But with the worldwide decline of secular education in Yiddish after the Holocaust, knowledge of Yiddish culture becomes increasingly fragmented. Although Yiddish forms a legitimate part of various academic Jewish Studies programs, it often has the secondary status of an auxiliary subject. As a result, academic research in Yiddish culture rarely tackles central topics such as literary history or monographic studies of individual writers. With Yiddish studies in the U.S. increasingly focused on border cases between Yiddish and other cultural phenomena, Germany is gradually emerging as a major center of Yiddish philology.

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