By Renee Levine Melammed
In 1391 a number of the Jews of Spain have been compelled to transform to Christianity, making a new crew whose individuals will be constantly looking a distinct segment for themselves in society. The query of id was once to play a significant function within the lives of those and later converts even if of Spanish or Portuguese history, for they can now not go back to Judaism so long as they remained at the Peninsula, and their position within the Christian international could by no means be safe. This e-book considers the background of the Iberian conversos-both those that remained in Spain and Portugal and those that emigrated. anywhere they resided the query of identification was once inescapable. The exile who selected France or England, the place Jews couldn't legally stay, used to be confronted with diverse concerns and ideas than the converso who selected Holland, a newly shaped Protestant kingdom the place Jews had now not formerly resided. picking out Italy entailed a totally assorted set of techniques and dilemmas. Ren?e Levine Melammed compares and contrasts the lives of the hot Christians of the Iberian Peninsula with these of those nations and the improvement in their id and experience of ethnic team spirit with "those of the Nation." Exploring the knotty challenge of id she examines an excellent number of person offerings and behaviors. a few conversos attempted to be honest Catholics and weren't allowed to take action. Others attempted yet failed both theologically or culturally. whereas many finally opted to shape Jewish groups outdoor the Peninsula, others have been not able to make a complete dedication to Judaism and have become "cultural commuters" who might and did flow backward and forward among worlds while others had "fuzzy" or attenuated Jewish identities. additionally, the come across with modernity by way of the descendants of conversos is tested in 3 groups, Majorca, Belmonte (Portugal) and the Southwestern usa, revealing that even at the present time the query of id continues to be a urgent factor. supplying the one extensive historic survey of this interesting and complicated workforce of migrants, this publication will attract quite a lot of educational and basic readers.
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Additional resources for A Question of Identity: Iberian Conversos in Historical Perspective
Of the rabbinic material available, the most frequently consulted and most abundant consists of responsa, or questions put to the court and answered by the scholar consulted in that particular matter. 65 One can discern the problem involved in interpreting the repercussions of these rabbinic decisions, for the personal opinion of the rabbinic scholar is not always obvious. For example, if a woman left her husband in order to rejoin a Jewish community, she is not allowed to remarry until he grants her a writ of divorce.
33 The rabbi had respected his “last wishes,” as would any conscientious man of God. 35 A more general account of Judaizing that included direct contact with Jews can be found in the 1490 accusation presented to an Aragonese converso who was none other than the king’s steward. This fellow, Luis Sa´nchez, had a Jewish cook in his home and had been seen reading from a Hebrew book and eating kosher meat. He was described as a great Talmudist who also taught Talmud to others, swore Jewish oaths, and prayed Jewish prayers.
Did they need to do penance once they joined the community? How should the rabbis view uncircumcised men? Should ritual immersion be demanded for all those who openly entered the fold? Was it feasible to recognize the priestly status of those who claimed to belong to that category? The transition from converso to Jew was fraught with difﬁculties, both expected and unexpected; in the chapters to follow, these difﬁculties will be discussed and analyzed. ”1 In a discussion of the signiﬁcance and primacy of the Spanish expulsion in Jewish memory, this contemporary historian points to three signiﬁcant factors: Spanish Jewry had reveled in a glory that was unprecedented; accounts of other exiled Jewries are rare; and the size of the expelled population was also unprecedented.
A Question of Identity: Iberian Conversos in Historical Perspective by Renee Levine Melammed