The Marrano Factory argues that the Portuguese Inquisition’s stated intention of extirpating heresies and purifying Portuguese Catholicism was a monumental hoax; the true purpose of the Holy Office was the fabrication rather than the destruction of "Judaizers". The caste or "race" of the New Christians was in reality synonymous with the Portuguese mercantile middle class which conservative Portuguese society would not tolerate. Most or nearly all of the New Christian Inquisitorial victims (some 40,000 between 1540 and 1765) were unremarkable Catholics who often had minimal Jewish ancestry. The Portuguese Inquisitorial procedure was not designed to distinguish between guilt and innocence, but considered any defendant, once categorized a New Christian, a Judaizer.
First published in Portuguese in 1969, this is the only work by António José Saraiva available in English and the only single-volume history devoted primarily to the working of the Portuguese Inquisition, a most lucid and compact survey. It presents Saraiva’s 1975 revised history and analysis of the Portuguese Inquisition; a 1971 interview with Professor Israel Salvator Révah; Saraiva’s dialogues and Révah’s reply of the same year; both scholars’ letters to the
Diário de Lisboa. Footnotes and introductions have been expanded. A brief survey of the Portuguese Inquisition in Goa, India, as well as a list of Portuguese kings and Inquisitors-general and an up-to-date bibliography have been added.
António José Saraiva (1917-1993) was at the time of his death Professor Emeritus of Portuguese literature at Lisbon University. His major works include a three-volume
History of Culture in Portugal and a
History of Portuguese Literature which went through 16 editions between 1954 and 1993. His
Inquisição e Cristãos-Novos underwent four printings in 1969 and sold approximately 20,000 copies in Portugal within the year of publication.
H.P. Salomon, Doctor in Letters (1988), University of Nijmegen, teaches the Portuguese, French and Dutch Literatures and Languages at the State University of New York in Albany. He has published extensively on the Portuguese New Christians, including
Portrait of a New Christian (Paris, Gulbenkian, 1982) and
Uriel da Costa: Examination of Pharisaic Traditions (Brill, 1993).
I.S.D. Sassoon was educated in his native England and in Israel. He teaches Rabbinics and Bible at the Institute for Traditional Judaism in Teaneck (N.J.). He has just published
Destination Torah, a scholarly commentary on the Pentateuch.