Remembering the Forced Baptism of Jews: Law, Theology, and History in Sixteenth-Century Portugal

In: Forced Conversion in Christianity, Judaism and Islam

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Abstract

This chapter deals with the traumatic event represented by the conversion of Jews that occurred in Portugal in 1497. It is argued that the largest forcible baptism of Jews in the history of western Europe was so brutal and extensive that it constituted a shock not only for its victims but also for Portuguese society as a whole. The effects of this shock are explored by questioning the silence that surrounded the abrupt passage to Christianity of tens to hundreds of thousands Jews, as well as by tracing the interaction of multiple memories through the legal controversies, theological debates, and historical writings that dealt with the events of 1497 over the course of the sixteenth century.

Forced Conversion in Christianity, Judaism and Islam

Coercion and Faith in Premodern Iberia and Beyond

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