By Jonathan S. Ray

Honorary point out for the 2014 Medieval and Early sleek Jewish background part publication award provided via the organization for Jewish Studies

On August three, 1492, a similar day that Columbus set sail from Spain, the lengthy and wonderful historical past of that nation’s Jewish group formally got here to an in depth. The expulsion of Europe’s final significant Jewish group ended greater than one thousand years of exceptional prosperity, cultural power and highbrow productiveness. but, the predicament of 1492 additionally gave upward thrust to a dynamic and resilient diaspora society spanning East and West.
 
After Expulsion lines a number of the paths of migration and resettlement of Sephardic Jews and Conversos over the process the tumultuous 16th century. Pivotally, the amount argues that the exiles didn't develop into “Sephardic Jews” in a single day. in simple terms within the moment and 3rd iteration did those disparate teams coalesce and undertake a “Sephardic Jewish” id.
 
After Expulsion provides a brand new and engaging portrait of Jewish society in transition from the medieval to the early glossy interval, a portrait that demanding situations many longstanding assumptions in regards to the transformations among Europe and the center East.
 
 

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Second, the identification of the normative Hispano-Jewish community as a set of overlapping and highly contested relationships among individuals allows a greater appreciation of the individuality and effective pragmatism of the exiles. As we shall see, the same fractious tendencies that were such an obstacle to Jewish self-government, social organization, and standardization of religious norms would also play an important role in the survival of the Sephardim during their turbulent passage into exile.

Its king, João II (r. 1481–95), openly welcomed Spain’s Jewish refugees, though not without demanding an entry fee. Those who made the long journey westward through the mountain passes of Extremadura found safe haven in a relatively wealthy kingdom that boasted a sizable Jewish community, and whose language and customs closely resembled those of their native Castile. None could have fathomed the fate that awaited them there. The protected status of the refugees in Portugal remained stable, even during the ascension of João II’s cousin and brother-in-law, Manuel I, in the autumn of 1495.

The sheer number of Conversos and the various kinship ties between them and Iberian Jews were not the only factors that made the idea of conversion less daunting. The prevalence of crypto-Judaism among the Conversos also raised the possibility that a Jew could adopt Christianity and still remain in some sense Jewish. The scope and disputed nature of Converso society caused a major shift in the Christian image of the Jews, as well as in the functioning of the HispanoJewish society. If some Christians found the phenomenon of crypto-Judaism repugnant on ideological grounds, others were troubled by the practical implications of such transgressions.

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