The Last Deception: Failed Messiahs and Jewish Conversion in Early Modern German Lands

  • E. Carlebach
Part of the International Archives of the History of Ideas / Archives Internationales D’Histoire des Idées book series (ARCH, volume 173)


Jewish and Christian religious messianic traditions collided, intersected, and reverberated in an endless cycle which continually revised and reworked mutual perceptions and definitions. This paper will study the interplay between Christian expectations concerning Jewish conversion, Jewish messianism, and Jewish deceitfulness in early modern German literary culture. Jewish conversion to Christianity, collective or individual, and expressions of Jewish messianism constituted two extreme reactions to the Christian claims concerning the messiah. The former was interpreted by both Christians and Jews as a capitulation to the Christian interpretation of history, whereas the latter utterly rejected those claims. Christian notions of Jewish deceit undermined the meaning of both these Jewish responses and reinterpreted them, reshaping the signs of the endtime to carry a far more sinister meaning, in which conversions were transformed into new avenues of subversion and messianic claimants into predictable precursors of the Antichrist. They took on particular configurations in early modern German culture.


Jewish Woman Christian Faith Christian World Ultimate Conversion Beautiful Daughter 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • E. Carlebach
    • 1
  1. 1.Queens CollegeCUNYUSA

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