Skip to comments.Majorcan Descendants of Spanish Jews Who Converted Are Recognized as Jews
Posted on 07/10/2011 7:04:06 PM PDT by Palter
Centuries after the Spanish Inquisition led to the forced conversion of Jews to Catholicism, an ultra-orthodox rabbinical court in Israel has issued a religious ruling that recognizes descendants from the insular island of Majorca as Jews.
The opinion focused narrowly on the Majorcan community of about 20,000 people known as chuetas and did not apply to descendants of Sephardic Jewish converts in mainland Spain or the broader diaspora of thousands of others who scattered to the Ottoman Empire and the Spanish colonies in South and North America.
The island, isolated until a tourist boom that began in the late 1960s, is a sociological preserve for descendants of Jews who formed an insular community of Catholic converts that intermarried through the centuries because of religious persecution and discrimination that barred them from holding certain positions in the Roman Catholic Church through the 20th century. Most carry the names of 15 families with ancestors who were tried and executed during the 17th century for practicing Judaism.
The religious court in Israel, led for more than 40 years by Rabbi Nissim Karelitz, sent another rabbi to the island in May to explore its warren of streets where a synagogue once stood and to examine the family trees of some of the chuetas who trace lineage back 500 years.
In a two-paragraph opinion typical of the private rabbinical court that deals with matters of conversions, marriage conflicts and financial disputes Rabbi Karelitz issued a statement that said because of the intermarriage patterns of the chuetas, all those who are related to the former generations are Jews.
(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...
Some Jews do play the victim card, as do many other groups (some of whom I could be identified with). The post was in part about how being psychologically invested in being a victim will tend to make people cling to false historical narratives, such as the popular conception of The Inquisition.
If you had bothered to read the linked article you would have seen that it had very little to do with Jews. Instead, it had very much to do with the messy truth about how Mohammadan rule actually operated in Spain in contrast to the popular myth of the “Andalusian Paradise”, which is one of several myths Mohammedans rely on to portray themselves as victims.
To insinuate that because someone points out that common thnking about The Inquisition is wrong, or that because some makes the historically accurate point that virtually every people has been victimized and has also victimized, he must somehow deny the holocaust is a smear of the rankest kind. You might have asked my views on the holocaust or Israel if you actually cared about anything other than maintaining the psychological rents that you apparently derive from thinking of yourself as a victim. And, no, I am not saying that Jews haven’t been victims, so don’t bother posting that sort of tripe.
Continued Struggles.You see the problem here? Its not simply a matter of the caricature of Christians persecuting Jews. There were complicated dynamics at play, with Kings often at odds with the Pope in these matters, and Pope often sticking up for the rights of those who were being persecuted by mobs or the Crown or whoever.
Under Clement's successor, Paul III., a friend to the Jews, the struggle concerning the Inquisition in Portugal was continued. King John, in whose interest the Spanish ambassador at Rome, Count de Cifuentas, and Cardinal Santiquatro were active, left no means untried to induce the pope to repeal the bull of his predecessor. ... Paul decided in Nov. (3 or 26), 1534, that for the present the "Bulle de Perdon" should not be published. He then submitted the matter for further careful investigation to a commission consisting of theologians and jurists, among whom were Cardinals Hieronymo Ghenucci, author of a work in defense of the Neo-Christians, and Jacobo Simonetta, one of the most learned men in the Curia. The majority of this commission expressed itself in favor of the Neo-Christians. At the same time the papal nuncio in Lisbon informed the Curia that the "Bulle de Perdon" had been published throughout the land, but that the king not only refused to liberate those imprisoned for their religious belief, but had made new arrests and had renewed(June 14, 1535) for three years the law of July 14, 1532, prohibiting emigration.
With John, as with his father Manuel, the chief concern was the property of the Maranos; and for this reason neither father nor son wished them to leave the country. The former desired to baptize them; the latter, to burn them. Knowing this, the pope issued the humane brief of July 20, 1535, in which every one, on pain of excommunication, was forbidden to hinder the emigration of the Maranos. Soon after the issue of this brief the pope made a proposition to King Johnit is said on the advice of Diogo Rodriguez Pintoto grant pardon to all Neo-Christians, even to those imprisoned, and to permit them to leave the country within a year. In case he did this, the pope would permit the king to introduce the Inquisition in the way he desired. John, however, would listen to no concessions of this sort.
Bull of Oct. 12, 1535.
Tired of these endless negotiations, Paul issued (Oct. 12, 1535) a new and decisive bull, similar to the "Bulle de Perdon" of April 7, 1533, in which he suppressed all suits brought against the Neo-Christians, canceled every confiscation of their property, and annulled all sentences against them without regard to place of residence or to any avowals made by them. In short, he declared all Neo-Christians of Portugal to be free. This bull was published in all parts of the country, the king being unable to prevent it. The whole Christian population of Portugal feared the anger of Rome. John, and still more eagerly the Infante Affonso, hastened to liberate the imprisoned Maranos, especially those who had a recommendation from Rome ("Bullar. Roman." ed. Cherubim, i. 712 et seq.; Herculano, "Da Origem . . . da lnquisição," ii. 143 et seq.). .. The hatred of the king toward the Maranos and his greed were too great to permit him to assent to any such conditions. In order to attain his end he turned to his brother-in-law, Emperor Charles V., to secure his intervention with the pope. Accordingly, when Charles entered Rome (April, 1536) as victor over the Turks, he asked the pope as a special favor to grant John's demand. Paul, however, refused, saying that the Maranos of Portugal, who had been forcibly baptized, could not be regarded as Christians.
"So King Ferdinand requested permission from the Pope for the Inquisition. The Pope reluctantly gave his permission. So many Jews were left open for persecution either because they still practiced their religion or simply because they were accused by rivals or suspicious neighbors."
This puts a lie to the statements that the Inquisition had no authority and did not torture into "confession" any "Jews", only "Christians".
In fact many Jews, having converted to Christianity under duress, were Christians in name only (while secretly practicing their Jewish faith at home), making them precisely the kind of target sought out by the Inquisition.
To say that did not constitute, by the Inquisition of the Roman Catholic Church, persecution of Jews is IN FACT a lie. Roman Catholic authorities and Spanish rulers acting as the secular officers of a Roman Catholic nation, forced (yes "under duress" means "forced") many Jews to convert to Christianity and then, believing that many of such converts were converts "in name only" set about persecuting those suspected of not being true Christians, not being true to their publicly stated faith.
To say that the Roman Catholic Church had nothing to do with the persecution of Jews who did not convert to Christianity is another fiction. It makes believe that (a) Roman Catholic officials in Spain did not act in concert with secular Spanish officials, who acted as the secular rulers of a Roman Catholic nation, helping to provide the "duress" (convert or leave) to convert, (b) whereby so many Jews left Spain, left generations of built-up life and wealth behind. To say that the Roman Catholic Church in Spain had nothing to do with that is a lie.
I assume the use of the word “intermarriage” is used differently than its usual use - to marry someone of a different religion.
Here it must mean marrying within your group. confusing.
I suggest you read Benzion Netanyahu, the PM’s father and the foremost scholar of the Inquisition.
Further, Hitler also offered Jews to leave. But where were they to go?
It was even worse during the Inquisition as travel was way more difficult and deadly and costly. Your statement that they did not want to leave their wealth and possessions minimizes all the other difficulties.
Please explain Pope John Paul’s apology to the Jews, in part, for the Inquisition?
The Left uses revisionist history. I hate to see it here.
Tsk, Tsk. You are still at it. No one, and certainly not I, said that no Jew was murdered or tortured in Spain between 1000 A.D. and 1600 A.D. Bear in mind, though, that The Inquisition only existed during 108 years of this period that you have selected.
The issue was the accuracy of the popular understanding of the Inquisition. There is a scholarly literature regarding that, just as there is a scholarly literature about the Crusades and Andalusian Myth that deviate from popular understanding.
You seem to be simply too attached to some sort of victim narrative to discuss any of this rationally. By the way, do you think that the Inquisition was limited to Spain? Do you think that Jews were the only victims of the Inquisition, even in Spain? Do you think that Catholics weren’t tortured and murdered in Spain during the period you cite?
You apparently think that libel is the best offense.
Add to that: Just good old fashion, from their mother’s milk Anti-Semitic denial and revisionism.
One way the Inquisition found you is that they watched to see if smoke came out of your chimney on Friday nights. If it didn’t, they knew there were Jews living there, observing Shabbos, and they came and dragged you and your family out in irons. Burning at the stake was not the only method. There were many torture devices- the iron maiden, the rack, being flayed alive......
I can’t believe the total drek I am reading here........This is part of my own family’s history, we are Sephardim, and these people have no idea what they are talking about.
It’s beyond pitiful. It is appalling.
“Sadly, FreeRepublic is becoming a safe haven for skinheads and faux historians.”
That is to be expected in any forum. It is a very sad reflection of our society, and the world we live in. But, it is also a good warning signal to us all.
World wide, Anti-Semitism is growing exponentially. It is time to help open the eyes of our brethren, who prefer not to see what these disturbed minds are espousing.
But one thing to remember, despite the best efforts among the worst of them, century after century, in their attempts to wipe us out, we keep coming back.
And, each time, we come back even stronger. We are Blessed by G-D, Himself, not just survive, but thrive exceedingly well, against all odds. And there is not one damned thing any of them can really do about it. They are cursed, and thus, doomed to fail before they even begin. Think about that :))
Every time they harm us, they are harmed, and are cursed instead. That was HaShem’s promise, and HE keeps His word. Our very survival and exceptional success, despite them all, is the on-going miracle that attests to His promise and sacred Blessing upon the Jewish people.
I will Bless those who Bless you, and Curse those who Curse you.”
I stand in support of you. One assembly, from the wilderness, we all join Israel (Romans 11 to start), time is the ally of deceit (to quote a book title).
Baruch HaShem !
“LOL, are you trying to pass yourself off as some kind of intellectual? Even reading none is still more than having read Kamen the revisionist.”
So, in other words, you have never read a single reputable book on the inquisition? That would explain your apparent (and amazing) lack of knowledge about it. That won’t stop you from posting apparently baseless assertions and opinions, however, now will it?
“You blew your credibility to smithereens by saying “all modern research and scholarship on the inquisition is revisionist” while taking it to be the most valid at the same time.”
Sorry, but it is a fact that all modern research and scholarship on the inquisition is revisionist. There are no two ways around it. Since almost all previous scholarship has been demonstrated to have been done without significant reference to actual sources or with gross misinterpretations, there is no other possibility. If you don’t believe me then ask any historian of the inquisition this question: “Considering the huge developments in the research and scholarship about the inquisition in the last half century isn’t safe to say that all modern research - if accurate and based on actual primary resources - is by necessity revisionist compared to standard works of the 19th century such as Llorente and Lea?”
“This isn’t the place for your kind of radicalism, with all due respect.”
Gee, how about the BBC? http://www.catholiceducation.org/articles/history/world/wh0008.html
“It’s enough for Constantine to accuse Jesus Himself of committing “pernicious errors”, never mind Canon 29 of the Synod of Laodicea calling Jesus “anathema” from Himself.”
Throw in the kitchen sink while you’re at it since you can’t apparently debate anything about the inquisition.
“Have a nice day . . .”
I will. When you read a reputable book on the inquisition, let me know. I’ll probably be waiting a long time.
“That is not a simple question, considering the source. What do you mean by “reputable” - one that agrees with your revisionism?”
I’ll make this easy on you. Name the books on the inquisition you’ve read. Just name all of them. Just name any of them. Can you name any you’ve read? Have you read any at all?
“It must be nice to have all the answers......”
I don’t have all of them. About the inquisition, however, I have a lot of them.
“I suggest you read Benzion Netanyahu, the PMs father and the foremost scholar of the Inquisition.”
Already did. He is not the foremost scholar on the inquisition by the way. His great work on the subject is his Origins of the Inquisition in Fifteenth Century Spain. He makes a number of errors which seem to show that his emotional attachment to his subjects (Spanish Jews in the late Middle Ages) got the better of him. BN sought to portray the Conversos as monolithically sincere converts. There is no doubt that many were, but clearly many were not. BN essentially says that all the original sources which showed some Conversos to be secretly practicing Judaism while publically claiming to be practicing Christians and all the while undermining Christian society to simply be fantastic literature. Such claims strain the credulity of things to say the least.
BN, for instance, wrote that the inquisitors:
“were incurably perverted by the various influences that shaped their thinking and their tendencies...these tendencies were expressed by the officials of the Inquisition, down to its lowest functionaries and agents, in a blatant disregard for human life; a fervid desire to flaunt power and exercise control over life and death; a capacity for repression that could crush any spirit; a morbid passion for inflicting torture and causing pain that could break all resistance; and apart from all this, a shameless rapacity designed to render the torturer also the inheritor of his victim’s goods.”
The simple fact is that we know torture was no so common as to suggest that inquisitors possessed “a morbid passion for inflicting torture and causing pain that could break all resistance”. If that were the case, wouldn’t all people have been tortured by the inquisition everywhere and all the time? Yet nothing even remotely like that took place.
Another interesting thing about BN’s book is how he undermines people in this very thread. People who claim the inquisition was founded to forcibly convert Jews must never have read BN’s book since - as he makes abundantly clear on page xix - that he is a confirmed believer that the Jewish converts to Christinaity were faithful and willing converts to Christianity who wanted to “remove themselves from anything regarded as Jewish, especially in the field of religion.”
“Further, Hitler also offered Jews to leave. But where were they to go?”
Hitler actually allowed some to leave for payment, while keeping others in Germany. As Hitler’s grip on Germany tightened, he was less and less favorable to Jews leaving, or at least less favorable to them leaving without the Nazis profiting in some way.
“It was even worse during the Inquisition as travel was way more difficult and deadly and costly.”
That is in fact completely untrue. As I already noted, half of the Jews left. Did half of Germany’s Jews leave before the war? Nope. The simple fact is people traveled across Spain all the time into France, North Africa, the Mediterranean, etc. It was not onerously difficult, deadly or costly to leave Spain. That’s how half of the Jews were able to do it.
“Your statement that they did not want to leave their wealth and possessions minimizes all the other difficulties.”
In what post did I make that statement?
“Please explain Pope John Pauls apology to the Jews, in part, for the Inquisition?”
It seemed self-explanatory to me. John Paul II was free to make whatever apology he wanted to whomever he wanted for what ever reason he wanted. He never said the inquisition was wrong in itself.
“The Left uses revisionist history. I hate to see it here.”
What I use is accurate history. I love to see it here.
Professor Netayahu is probably the world’s most respected researcher and expert on this subject.
Apart from him, Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz, the world renowned scholar, Jewish Educator, philosopher, social critic and author. Proclaimed by Time Magazine as a once-in-a-millennium scholar”- I would match his credentials and knowledge on this subject against any you may have - world wide. Read his many volumes of research and commentary, you may just learn something, and begin to acquire a brain. Rabbi Spiro’s lectures would help you, as well. As would the writings of many other Rabbinic scholars on this subject.
Apart from them, if you are not fluent in Hebrew, Ladino, Arabic, Spanish, and Latin, then you have nothing to offer on this subject, other than revisionist garbage.
Why? Because all valid documentation involves communications and records from and by governments, The Catholic Church, the Rabbis, the Rabbinate, and the people who suffered through it- which were overwhelmingly, the Jews. My own family among them. Those communications and records are still around to read. And anyone who has actually studied this subject, or studied a source who did, would not be posting the nonsense that you are.
“Because all valid documentation involves communications and records from and by governments, The Catholic Church, the Rabbis, the Rabbinate, and the people who suffered through it- which were overwhelmingly, the Jews.”
That is exactly the opposite of Netayahu’s thesis. He claims they were overwhelmingly CHRISTIANS. Not only were they Christians, but they wanted to “remove themselves from anything regarded as Jewish, especially in the field of religion.” (page xix - as I already noted). The contradiction between what you say and what Netayahu insists on was already made clear in my own statement: “Another interesting thing about BNs book is how he undermines people in this very thread. People who claim the inquisition was founded to forcibly convert Jews must never have read BNs book since - as he makes abundantly clear on page xix - that he is a confirmed believer that the Jewish converts to Christinaity were faithful and willing converts to Christianity who wanted to remove themselves from anything regarded as Jewish, especially in the field of religion.”
And that’s one of the reasons why you can’t be taken seriously. You tout a book which actually contradicts your own assertions and you do so glibly apparently not even realizing how you just undermined your own claim.
“My own family among them. Those communications and records are still around to read. And anyone who has actually studied this subject, or studied a source who did, would not be posting the nonsense that you are.”
So, quotes from Netayahu which contradict you are now nonsense? Fascinating. Let me know when you and the author you claim to respect so much actually agree.
Actually, no. The Muslim world in 1492 was a beacon of freedom and tolerance compared to Spain. The Ottoman Sultan, Beyazit II, welcomed the exiled Spanish Jews with open arms. He granted them complete freedom of religion, and actively encouraged them to settle in his major cities. By 1558, the Ottomans even turned over portions of Ottoman Palestine to Jews expressly for the purposes of Jewish settlement and (limited) self-government.
North Africa wasn't as welcoming as the Ottoman Empire. But it was far better than Spain -- causing many exiled Spanish Jews to settle, and flourish, in places like present-day Morocco and Algeria.
Muslim tolerance had its limits, of course. But to suggest that Muslims treated Jews worse than Christian Europe in the 15th-16th Centuries is to just deny reality.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.