Who and what was a jew? Some considerations for the historical study of new christians

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Abstract

The present essay argues that studies of early modern Iberian societies have too often been insufficiently grounded in the study of pre-modern Jewish culture, and that consequently historical scholarship on judeoconversos has reproduced medieval Christian notions of Jewishness in addressing the key question of identity. The article illustrates this phenomenon of erroneous categorization via a late medieval example, as well as modern ones that echo and compound it. Finally, the article outlines dominant aspects of traditional Judaic culture as collective, public, and all-encompassing, that preclude the facile use of the category of "(crypto-)Judaism" to explain New Christian identities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)15-43
Number of pages29
JournalAnais de Historia de Alem-Mar
Volume14
StatePublished - Jan 1 2013

Keywords

  • Conversos
  • Crypto-Judaism
  • Historiography
  • Iberian jews

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History

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