This book examines the religious and ideological consequences of mass conversion in Iberia, where Jews and Muslims were forcibly converted or expelled at the end of the XVth century and beginning of the XVIth, and in this way it explores the fraught relationship between origins and faith. It treats also of the consequences of coercion on intellectual debates and the production of knowledge, taking into account how integrating new converts from Judaism and Islam stimulated Christian scholars to confront the converts’ sacred texts and created a distinctive peninsular hermeneutics. The book thus assesses the importance of the “Converso problem” in issues such as religious dissidence, dissimulation, and doubt and skepticism while establishing the process by which religious dissidence came to be categorized as heresy and was identified with converts from Judaism and Islam even when Lutheranism was often in the background.
Mercedes García-Arenal is a Research professor at the Spanish Council for Scientific Research (CCHS-CSIC, Madrid) and PI of the CORPI project. She is a cultural historian of the Early Modern Muslim West (Islam in the Iberian Peninsula and the Maghreb) and has published extensively on religious minorities, processes of conversion, messianism, millenarianism, and the Spanish Inquisition. Her best known book was written with Gerard A. Wiegers, A Man of Three Worlds: Samuel Pallache, a Moroccan Jew between Catholic and Protestant Europe (2003), first published in Spanish (1999) and translated into Arabic, Italian and Dutch. She is co-editor of The Expulsion of the Moriscos from Spain: A Mediterranean Diaspora (2014) and co-author of The Orient in Spain: Converted Muslims, the Forged Lead Books of Granada and the Rise of Orientalism (2013).
Chapter One, Nebuchadnezzar’s Jewish Legions by Adam G. Beaver is the winner of the 2017 Bishko Prize for best article on medieval Iberian history published by a North American scholar. The prize is awarded by the Association for Spanish and Portuguese Historical Studies (ASPHS).
List of figures
Notes on contributors
Part I: Biblical Culture, Jewish Antiquities and New Forms of Sacred History
1. Nebuchadnezzar’s Jewish Legions: Sephardic Legends’ Journey from Biblical Polemic to Humanist History
Adam G. Beaver
2. Biblical Translations and Literalness in Early Modern Spain
Fernando Rodríguez Mediano
3. Language as Archive: Etymologies and the Remote History of Spain
Valeria López Fadul
4. The Search for Evidence: The Relics of Martyred Saints and Their Worship in Cordoba after the Council of Trent
Part II: Iberian Polemics, Readings of the Qurʾān and the Rise of European Orientalism
5. Textual Agnogenesis and the Polysemy of the Reader: Early Modern European Readings of Qur’ānic Embryology
Pier Mattia Tommasino
6. A Witness of Their Own Nation: On the Influence of Juan Andrés
7. Authority, Philology and Conversion under the Aegis of Martín García
Teresa Soto González and Katarzyna K. Starczewska
8. Polemical Transfers: Iberian Muslim Polemics and their Impact in Northern Europe in the Seventeenth Century
Gerard A. Wiegers
Part III: Conversion and Perplexity
9. Assembling Alumbradismo: The Evolution of a Heretical Construct
Jessica J. Fowler
10. Doubt in Fifteenth-Century Iberia
11. Mi padre moro, yo moro: The Inheritance of Belief in Early Modern Iberia
12. Tropes of Expertise and Converso Unbelief: Huarte de San Juan’s History of Medicine
13. True Painting and the Challenge of Hypocrisy
All interested in Early Modern Catholic history, Iberia, religious conversion and dissidence, Early Modern polemics and translations of sacred texts, intellectual and cultural historians of Early Modern Europe.