The Imaginary Synagogue: Anti-Jewish Literature in the Portuguese Early Modern World (16th-18th Centuries)


This book scrutinizes literary works based on Judaism, Jews and their descendants, written or printed by the Portuguese, from the forced conversion of Jews in 1497, until the ending of the distinction between New and Old Christians in 1773. It tries to understand what motivated this vast literary production, its different currents, and how they evolved. Additionally, it studies the image of New Christians and seeks the reasons for the perpetuation of this perception of Jewish descendants in the Early Modern Portuguese world. The Imaginary Synagogue seeks to identify which Jews and which ‘synagogue’ those authors constructed in their texts and their reasons for doing so, and offers conclusions on the self-affirmed Catholic importance of this literary current.

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Biographical Note
Bruno Feitler, Ph.D. (2001), Ecole des hautes études en sciences sociales, is Professor of Early Modern History at the Universidade Federal de São Paulo, and researcher of the CNPq (Brazil). He has published on the Portuguese Inquisition, the Church in Colonial Brazil, and the Portuguese Jews.
Table of contents
List of Illustrations vi
Abbreviations ix
Introduction 1
1 Jews in Portugal and the Beginnings of Polemical Literature 9
2 Portuguese Anti-Semitic Literary Production: Forms, Objectives, and
Reception (17th – 18th Centuries) 18
2.1 Sermons and Auto-da-Fe Lists 19
2.2 Treatises 44
2.3 Sources 65
2.4 Circulation and Censorship 67
3 The New Christian Image 77
3.1 Terminology 77
3.2 Punishment of the Deicides 82
3.3 Enemies of the Portuguese 84
3.4 Rites and Beliefs 87
4 Continuity and Change: The Different Currents of Anti-Jewish
Literature 94
4.1 The Seventeenth Century Context 94
4.1.1 Memorials 96
4.2 Signs of a New Time? 101
4.2.1 Pamphlets 106
5 Conclusions 117
Annex 1: Inquisitorial Medals and Diplomas 121
Annex 2: The Auto-da-Fé Sermon in Lisbon on May 5th, 1624 130
Sources and Bibliography 187
Index of Names and Places 204
All interested in the cultural history in the Portuguese Early Modern World, and anyone concerned with the construction and the evolution of prejudice against Jews, Judaism and New Christians (conversos).
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