Portuguese Jews, New Christians, and ‘New Jews’

A Tribute to Roberto Bachmann


In Portuguese Jews, New Christians and ‘New Jews’ Claude B. Stuczynski and Bruno Feitler gather some of the leading scholars of the history of the Portuguese Jews and conversos in a tribute to their common friend and a renowned figure in Luso-Judaica, Roberto Bachmann, on the occasion of his 85th birthday. The texts are divided into five sections dealing with medieval Portuguese Jewish culture, the impact of the inquisitorial persecution, the wide range of converso identities on one side, and of the Sephardi Western Portuguese Jewish communities on the other, and the role of Portugal and Brazil as lands of refuge for Jews during the Second World War. This book is introduced by a comprehensive survey on the historiography on Portuguese Jews, New Christians and 'New Jews' and offers a contribution to Luso-Judaica studies

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Bruno Feitler, Ph.D. (2001), École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, is Professor of Early Modern History at the Universidade Federal de São Paulo, and a researcher of the CNPq (Brazil). He has published on the Portuguese Inquisition, the Church in Colonial Brazil, and the Portuguese Jews.

Claude B. Stuczynski, Ph.D. (2005), Bar-Ilan University, is Professor of History at Bar-Ilan University (Ramat-Gan) and board member of the Center for the Study of Conversions and Interreligious Encounters (CSOC) (University of Ben Gurion, Beer-Sheva). He studies the converso-New Christian phenomenon, in particular, in Portugal and encounters between European and non-Europeans in early modern times, and Early Modern theological-political thinking.

Contributors are: António Manuel Lopes Andrade, Roberto Bachmann, Meritxell Blasco Orellana, Miriam Bodian, Javier Castaño, Dov Cohen, Cédric Cohen-Skalli, Harm den Boer, Yosef Kaplan, Avraham Milgram, José Ramón Magdalena Nom de Déu, James W. Nelson Novoa, Moisés Orfali, Irene Flunser Pimentel, Juan Ignacio Pulido Serrano, Herman Prins Salomon, Myriam Silvera, Michael Studemund-Halévy, José Alberto Rodrigues da Silva Tavim, Carsten Lorenz Wilke, and Pier Cesare Ioly Zorattini.
"With chapters ranging from the thirteenth century to the Holocaust, Portuguese Jews, New Christians, and “New Jews” is a noteworthy contribution to Jewish Studies, especially in the Iberian world and in the diaspora (...)The unusually large scope, the diversity of themes, places, and individuals, and, most importantly, the overall quality and consistency of the chapters, make Portuguese Jews a most valuable book."
- Francisco Malta Romeiras, Universidade de Lisboa, Journal of Jesuit Studies 6 (2019)

List of Figures

List of Contributors

1 A Portuguese–Jewish Exception? A Historiographical Introduction

Bruno Feitler and Claude B. Stuczynski

Part 1: From Iberia to the Mediterranean

2 Medieval Hebrew-Portuguese Texts in Aljamia

Meritxell Blasco Orellana and José Ramón Magdalena Nom de Déu

3 Don Isaac Abravanel and The Capture of Arzila in August 1471. Expansion, Communal Leadership and Cultural Networks

Cédric Cohen Skalli

4 New Sources in Portuguese Aljamiado: A Collection of Letters Concerning the Commercial Activities of Sephardic Jews in the Ottoman Empire and Italy During the Mid-Sixteenth Century

Dov Cohen

5 The Orphans’ Portion and the Jews of Miranda do Douro in 1490

Javier Castaño

Part 2: Under the Gaze of the Holy Office

6 Baptized or Not? The Inquisitors’ Dilemma in Trials of Portuguese Jews from Dutch Brazil, 1645-1647

Miriam Bodian

7 A Little-Known Gibe at the Inquisition by Father António Vieira (1608-1697)

Translation and annotation by Herman Prins Salomon

8 The Last Marranos in Venice

Pier Cesare Ioly Zorattini

Part 3: New Christians and (Other) Identities

9 Conrad Gessner Edits Brudus Lusitanus. The Trials and Tribulations of Publishing a Sixteenth Century Treatise on Dietetics

António Manuel Lopes Andrade

10 Economic Know-How and Arbitrism in 1600. The Memoriales of Pedro de Baeça

Juan Ignacio Pulido Serrano

11 António and Francisco Vaz Pinto. Portuguese New Christian homens da nação in the Court of Rome

James W. Nelson Novoa

12 Two Biographies of Converted Jews in Contrast João Baptista d’Este and António García Soldani

José Alberto Rodrigues da Silva Tavim

13 The Ark on Stage. A Calderonian Allegory and Its Crypto-Judaic Transformation by Antonio Enríquez Gómez

Carsten L. Wilke

Part 4: Western Sephardic Variations

14 La Machabea and the First Portuguese of the Northern Netherlands

Harm den Boer

15 Paraphrastic Commentary to the Pentateuch by Isaac Aboab da Fonseca

Moisés Orfali

16 D’Holbach and the Dissertation sur le Messie

Myriam Silvera

17 The Abduction of a Girl in Order to Marry Her and Other Clandestine Marriages in the Sephardic Community of London in the Early Eighteenth Century

Yosef Kaplan

18 A Treasured Trove. Sefardic Manuscripts and Books from Altona and Hamburg

Michael Studemund-Halévy

Part 5: Luso-Brazilian Policies during the Holocaust

19 Portugal and the Holocaust

Irene Flunser Pimentel

20 The “New State” Regimes of Brazil and Portugal and their Diplomats Regarding the Persecution of Jews during the Holocaust. A Comparative Analysis

Avraham Milgram

Appendix: Chinese Porcelain Ordered by Portuguese Jews in the Diaspora

Roberto Bachmann


All interested in the history of the Portuguese Jews, the converso, New Christians or "Marrano" phenomenon in the peninsular and colonial contexts, the Portuguese-Sephardic Jewish Diaspora and the Holocaust.
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