Upon its publication in The New Yorker of March 14, 1959, “Defender of the Faith” provoked strong criticism from some Jewish organizations and rabbis, who denounced its relatively unknown, twenty-six-year-old author as an anti-Semitic, self-hating Jew. Since then this controversial narrative—collected in Roth’s Goodbye, Columbus and Best American Short Stories 1960—has become the most frequently reprinted Roth short story and a major work in the Jewish-American literary canon.
“Defender of the Faith” is set on a military base in Missouri during the early summer of 1945, a period when the European war had just ended but the war in the Pacific was still producing appalling American casualties. …
Citation: Chura, Patrick. "“Defender of the Faith”". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 05 June 2010 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=30478, accessed 09 June 2023.]