Uses and Echoes of Visigothic Conciliar Legislation in the Scholastic Controversy on Forced Baptism (Thirteenth and Fourteenth Centuries)

In: Forced Conversion in Christianity, Judaism and Islam
Elsa Marmursztejn
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This paper addresses the variety of impacts that the conciliar legislation which was produced in seventh-century Spain, in the aftermath of king Sisebut’s forced conversions, had on the thirteenth and fourteenth-century scholastic debate, when prominent theologians tackled the borderline case of children, and raised the question of whether they ought to be baptized against their parents’ will. The main issues of the debate, namely, princely power, Jewish serfdom, and the removal of the children, were linked to situations that were specific to Visigothic Spain, which appears as a laboratory for norms regarding forced conversions. Some of these norms provided materials that scholastic theologians used in different ways, twisted or left out; some others were strongly resonant in their discussions, although no textual link can be established. All these uses and echoes took place in a distant, different, but comparable context, when the relationship between political power and the status of the Jews was particularly consequential.

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Forced Conversion in Christianity, Judaism and Islam

Coercion and Faith in Premodern Iberia and Beyond

Series:  Numen Book Series, Volume: 164


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