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This book reviews types of Iberian Conversos (i.e. primarily forced but also voluntary Jewish converts to Christianity) from the late 14th to the 17th centuries and surveys the Christian and Jewish attitudes towards them. It begins with a brief history of Jewish life in the Iberian Peninsula noting critical events such as the forced conversions of Jews under the Visigoths and the Almohades. The direct events leading to mass conversions of Jews in the late 14th century and the aftermath in the 15th century are explored.
This study examines texts and decrees that reveal that many Christians doubted the sincerity of these Jewish conversions to Christianity, and how they still regarded and treated Conversos as Jews. Different types of Conversos are then discussed.
The challenges and situations each Converso faced were unique and produced different outlooks towards Jewish identity and faith in general. Various Jewish sources, including rabbinic responsa, sermons, and other documents are also analyzed.
These sources reveal the positive attitudes of Jews towards Conversos and the Jewish community’s desire for them to return to Judaism openly.
Other studies suggest that as a whole, Conversos either fully retained their Jewish identity or sincerely embraced Christianity. This study argues that the Jewish identity of Conversos was complicated and existed along a broad spectrum ranging from complete abandonment to ardent Judaizing. The book concludes by exploring the stories of descendants of Conversos in the United States, Latin America, and in Spain and Portugal, who are searching and often embracing a Jewish identity once thought lost.
Discover the complex and fascinating history of Secret Jews.
Persecution. Torture. Death. Secrecy.
Thousands of Jews forcibly converted to Christianity in Spain and Portugal were subjected to religious persecution for continuing to adhere to their ancestral faith. The Spanish and Portuguese Inquisitions lasted for centuries, and when their attention on Judaizers ended, they switched to other concerns including Protestantism, Bigamy, and Blasphemy.The Inquisition typically conjures up images of intolerance, persecution, and violence and rightly so.
Many people think of it as a reflection of the spiritual, scholastic, and scientific darkness of the medieval period. Hundreds of thousands of trials were processed during its lengthy reign… Discover the fascinating history of the Inquisition.
Persecution and Conversion
Why did so many Iberian Jews convert to Christianity when faced with violence? Why did they not respond to persecution the way that German Jews did? These are common questions that are often raised when the history of Jews in Spain and Portugal is studied.
Jews lived in the Iberian Peninsula for more than one-thousand years. They experienced Roman rule, Visigoth rule, Islamic conquest, and the Christian Reconquista.
Iberian Jewish attitudes towards violence and persecution were formed from a matrix of Biblical, Talmudic, philosophical, Kabbalistic, and outside influences that created a unique set of circumstances within the Jewish community.
This book explores this fascinating topic by analyzing Jewish views on martyrdom and dissimulation.
It also reviews the responses of German Jewry revealing a more complicated response than is often assumed.
It surveys the changing dynamics within the Iberian Jewish community in the medieval period which created a crisis of religious thought.
It also investigates Islamic influence on Iberian Jewish thought.
Discover how Spanish Jews confronted persecution and gain an appreciation for their unique circumstances.