Bernardini - Chapter 06 | eBooks | Non-Fiction

Bernardini - Chapter 06

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New Christian, Marrano, Jew

ADEQUATE DISCUSSION of the role played by Jews in the making of the New World depends on prior clarification of a difficult question — that of defining precise and unambiguous criteria for establishing whether and in what sense a given individual is to be regarded as a Jew. This question does not arise in relation to Jews from Central and Eastern Europe; it can be answered in relatively straightforward terms in the case of Jews of Iberian origin who, before leaving Europe or after arrival in America, were members of formally recognized or tacitly tolerated Jewish communities. But in the case of Spanish or Portuguese "New Christians," 1 before the end of the eighteenth century, the question is a decisive one. In Spain and Portugal, and in their respective empires, there had officially been no Jews since the end of the fifteenth century, after which only those Jews who had — voluntarily or otherwise — been converted to Catholicism (and their Catholic descendants) were allowed to remain. Since all were nominally Catholics, they were under the jurisdiction of the Inquisition and liable to prosecution if accused of any act or utterance that could be interpreted as evidence that their Catholicism was insincere.

New Christian, Marrano, JewRobert RowlandADEQUATE DISCUSSION of the role played by Jews in the making of the New World depends on prior clarification of a difficult question — that of defining precise and unambiguous criteria for establishing whet
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