Theologies of Baptism and Forced Conversion: The Case of the Muslims of Valencia and Their Children

In: Forced Conversion in Christianity, Judaism and Islam

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Abstract

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.

Forced Conversion in Christianity, Judaism and Islam

Coercion and Faith in Premodern Iberia and Beyond

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