Professor of Religious Studies, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (USA)
Resident at the Forschungskolleg Humanwissenschaften:June‒July 2013
Research topic at the Forschungskolleg Humanwissenschaften:»Finding Refuge in Christianity: Conversions and De-Conversions During and Following the Holocaust«
Tens of thousands of Jews turned to Christianity during the Holocaust era, as a means of hiding from persecution and danger, as well as in an attempt to find solace and a spiritual haven. Some converted formally, others in hiding. Many remained Christians, while others underwent a gradual process of de-conversion, returning to the Jewish fold, often to secular forms of Jewish identity. Some have attempted, at times unwittingly, to combine elements of both identities and faiths. The subject, however, has remained dramatically unexplored. This research comes to fill in some of the gap and point to some key elements of this highly important development, including the road to conversion, life as converts, the return to Judaism of some of the converts and the emotional struggles these journeys entailed, as well as the manner in which Jewish converts have come to amalgamate elements of two allegedly alien identities, and the memory they hold of the faiths they have seemingly abandoned, or, at times, upheld. (Yaakov Ariel) Professor Yaakov Ariel follows an invitation of Christian Wiese, professor of Jewish Philosophy at Goethe University Frankfurt, and the research training group of the German research foundation »Theology as a Science« (DFG-Graduiertenkolleg 1728).
Scholarly profile of Yaakov Ariel
Main areas of research:Evangelical Christianity; Christian-Jewish Relations; Judaism and modernity/postmodernity
- An Unusual Relationship Evangelical Christians and Jews. New York University Press, 2013.rnrn
- Evangelizing the Chosen People: Missions to the Jews in America 1880–2000. Univeristy of North Carolina Press, 2000.rnrn
- The Road to Damascus: Memoirs of Captivity. Tel Aviv: Sifriat Poalim, 1998. (in Hebrew)rnrn
- On Behalf of Israel: American Fundamentalist Attitudes Towards Jews, Judaism, and Zionism, 1865–1945. New York: Carlson, 1991.