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Iberia and the Emergence of Modernity
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.
This is a book about revolutionary movements of a messianic and millenarian character, led by a "mahdi", in Islamic terms, a charismatic messianic leader. It also addresses the question of mediation between God and men and the political repercussions of this question in the history of the pre-Modern Muslim West. Mahdism is considered in relation to sufi ideas, terminology and symbols which shape notions of authority and of legitimate power when claiming direct, intimate contact between the holy and the divine. The relationship between mahdism and the legitimacy of power, the process by which the messianic paradigm becomes inseparable from the claim to the caliphate are amply discussed. The contents of the book range from the times of the Muslim conquest of North Africa and Iberia, to the first part of the XVIIth century with the end of Muslim Iberia and the beginnings of European intervention in Morocco.


This article deals, in the first place, with the religious identity of the Arabic language as defined by the ongoing debate, in 16th-17th century Spain, about its identification with Islam. Many new Christians of Muslim origin (Moriscos) tried to break this identification in an effort to salvage part of their culture, and specially the language, by separating it from Islam. I will argue that the Morisco forgery known as the Lead Books of the Sacromonte in Granada—an Arabic Evangile dictated by the Virgin Mary to Arabic disciples who came to Spain with the Apostle Saint James—was part of this effort. When the Lead Books were taken to the Vatican to be informed, they were studied by Maronite scholars who decided that they were written in “Muslim Arabic” and therefore could not be authentic Christian texts. The Maronites were engaged in creating and consolidating their own version of Christian Arabic to define and legitimise their own position inside the Roman world. The second part of the essay adresses the theological considerations and the defence of different cultural identities which are implied in these different versions of Arabic.

In: Arabica


During the first years of the seventeenth century and mainly during the years previous to the Expulsion of the Moriscos it was discussed, on the one hand, if Moriscos children should or should not be baptized since they were surely going to apostatize. And it was also discussed if children under age could be expelled or not, if they were innocent. It was a debate on linage and blood in the one hand, versus education (crianza) and social context on the other. The case of Jewish children in Visighotic Spain was alluded in favour of not baptizing children and of expelling them with their parents. Contrary to what we might expect, it was not the hardliners who wanted to separate the children from their parents, but rather those who did not believe in the physiological transmission of religion. It was precisely those who believed in assimilation and had been against the Expulsion who thought that by separating the children from their parents they could be fully integrated into Christian society, as they believed that not all Moriscos were heretics, and that, in any case, their children were innocent. In the end, after a great deal of debate and vacillation, and very much against the opinion of the Pope, it was decided that the children, too, would be expelled.

In: Forced Conversion in Christianity, Judaism and Islam