Popularizing Anti-Semitism in Early Modern Spain and its Empire

Francisco de Torrejoncillo and the Centinela contra Judíos (1674)


This book charts the history and influence of the most vitriolic and successful anti-Semitic polemic ever to have been printed in the early modern Hispanic world and offers the first critical edition and translation of the text into English. First printed in Madrid in 1674, the Centinela contra judíos (“Sentinel against the Jews”) was the work of the Franciscan Francisco de Torrejoncillo, who wrote it to defend the mission of the Spanish Inquisition, to call for the expansion of discriminatory racial statutes and, finally, to advocate in favour of the expulsion of all the descendants of converted Jews from Spain and its empire. Francisco de Torrejoncillo combined the existing racial, theological, social and economic strands within Spanish anti-Semitism to demonize the Jews and their converted descendants in Spain in a manner designed to provoke strong emotional responses from its readership.
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EUR €110.00USD $147.00

Biographical Note

François Soyer, Ph.D. (2007), University of Cambridge, is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society. He is currently a lecturer in early modern history at Southampton (UK) and an Australian Research Council research fellow at the University of Adelaide (Australia).

Table of contents

Acknowledgements … vii
Abbreviations … ix
List of Illustrations and Maps … xi
Maps … xii
Illustrations … xv
Foreword … xxi
1. Seventeenth-Century Spain and its ‘Jewish Problem’:
The Centinela contra Judíos and its Historical Context … 3
2. Religion and Blood: ‘Religious Anti-Semitism’ in Early
Modern Spain … 19
3. Authorship, History and Impact of the Centinela contra Judíos … 47
4. Anti-Semitic Propaganda and Pedagogy:
Fear Mongering in the Centinela contra Judíos …75
Conclusion … 99
Foreword to the Translation … 105
Introductory Poem … 107
Prologue … 109
1. How the Jews are, and always have been, arrogant
and liars … 111
2. That the Jews are, and have been, traitors … 117
3. How the Jews came to be disdained and humbled … 139
4. How the Jews are persecutors of our Holy Catholic Faith … 145
5. That those who favour Jews because of the benefit
that they receive in return will never come to a
good end. Nor will they prosper with them … 161
6. Why the Jews should not be trusted, nor should
any faith be placed in their deeds … 175
7. Regarding the anxiety with which the Jews
await the coming of the Messiah … 185
8. How the Jews, wherever they may be, stick
together and form a Mystical Body … 197
9. Why they were called Hebrews, Israelites and
Jews and why and how, in ancient times, they
came to be called Marranos … 205
10. How the Jews, in addition to being opposed to our Holy
Faith, are our mortal enemies … 219
11. Regarding the signs by which Divine Providence
differentiates the Jews … 237
12. How the Jews are restless, vainglorious and
seditious and ordinarily sow discord wherever
they are … 251
13. How the Hebrews do not presently possess any honour,
or nobility whatsoever, and they lost that which they
possessed with the death of Christ … 263
14. Regarding the mercy with which our Mother
Church treats the Jews, and will continue to
treat them, and how far its obligations extend … 273
Appendix … 285
Bibliography … 303
ndex … 315


All interested in Jewish history, the history of Anti-Semitism and early modern European history. The translated text in particular will be of great use to students as well as to scholars teaching students in courses in those areas.