By Norman Roth

The Jewish group of medieval Spain used to be the most important and most vital within the West for greater than 1000 years, partaking absolutely in cultural and political beliefs with Muslim and Christian acquaintances. This strong state of affairs started to switch within the 1390s, and during the subsequent century millions of Jews switched over to Christianity. Norman Roth argues the following with distinctive documentation that, opposite to renowned fable, the conversos have been honest converts who hated (and have been hated via) the remainder Jewish neighborhood. Roth examines intensive the explanations for the Inquisition opposed to the conversos, and the eventual expulsion of all Jews from Spain.

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Additional info for Conversos, Inquisition, and the expulsion of the Jews from Spain

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The important point, however, is that when the Holy Roman Emperor, Henry IV, and William II of England heard of the events, both permitted the Jews who had been forcibly baptized to return to their religion— a decision which, contrary to canon law, was supported also by the pope. 12 In Spain during the early stages of the "Reconquest," while it is true that in some cases Jews fought by the side of Muslims against Christian invading forces (also augmented by Jewish soldiers), there appears to have been no bitterness against them on the part of the victorious Christians.

The situation of the Jews in medieval Spain must be clearly understood by any who wish to understand the converso problem. In the confines of the present book it is, of course, impossible to present that history. Several factors are important, however. First of all, it is necessary to realize that Jews lived in medieval Spain longer than they had in any other country in the world, including Israel. E. This gives us approximately twelve centuries of continuous Jewish presence in Spain, therefore.

In one of the cases in a collection of responsa of the geonim appears the statement that "ha-R"IF" (Isaac al-Fas! of Muslim Spain) said in the name of his teachers that a "defiant apostate" who has eaten forbidden foods may be charged interest on a loan, like a Gentile, but a "lascivious apostate" may not. 'I" in this case, Isaac b. Samuel of Dampierre in France, the nephew of Rabenu Tarn, and in its original form it deals not with an apostate at all but with the son of a converted woman {ben ha-meshumedet).

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