A kinder, gentler teaching of contempt?: Jews and Judaism in contemporary Protestant evangelical children's fiction

This article analyzes contemporary American evangelical children’s fiction with respect to the portrayal of Jews and Judaism. Some of the themes that appear in these novels for children include Jewish religiosity, anti-Semitism, Christian proselytizing, the Holocaust, the Jewishness of Jesus, Jews converting to Christianity, and the implicit emptiness of Jewish spirituality. The author argues that these books, many of which contain conversion narratives, reflect the ambivalence of modern Protestant evangelical Christianity concerning Jews and Judaism. On the one hand, evangelicals respect Jews and condemn all forms of anti-Semitism. On the other hand, evangelicals promote and encourage the conversion of Jews to Christianity through evangelism, which seems to imply a lack of respect or even a subtle contempt for Jewish faith and practice.