Vol. 25 (2022): Cromohs
The Jewish ‘Life of Jesus’ in Early Modern Contexts: Case Studies

An Unknown German Translation of Toledot Yeshu by Franz Ferdinand Engelsberger, a Seventeenth Century Christian Convert from Judaism

Yaacov Deutsch
David Yellin College
Thomas Coryat, Coryat’s Crudities: Reprinted from the Edition of 1611. To which are Now Added, His Letters from India, &c. and Extracts Relating to Him, from Various Authors [...] Together with His Orations, Character, Death, Etc. [...] (London: Printed for W. Cater, et. al., 1776), vol. III, n.p., ‘Coryat’s Letters from India’. Copy at The British Library, digitised by Google books.

Published 2023-07-17


  • Toledot Teshu,
  • Franz Ferdinand Engelsberger,
  • Christian-Jewish Relations,
  • converts


In this article, I focus on a hitherto unknown version of the polemical text Toledot Yeshu published in 1640 by a convert from Judaism named Franz Ferdinand Engelsberger. Following a short biography of Engelsberger, I describe the text and focus on a number of its unique features, that do not appear in other versions of the narrative. In addition, I demonstrate that the text includes certain narrative elements that were known thus far only from the later Huldricus’ version of the story from 1705. These elements indicate that the boundaries between the three main families of the texts identified by Di segni are not as strict as previously thought and that there was much fluidity between the different versions.