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Hidden Believers, Hidden Apostates: The Phenomenon Of Crypto-Jews And Crypto-Christians In The Middle East

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Chapter Summary

This chapter focuses on the existence and representation of crypto-Jews and crypto-Christians in the Muslim Middle East. It raises the question as to whether a pattern of comparable political, social or religious motivations or conditions might emerge from the analysis of various crypto-religious groups. Pondering the question what to think about and what to do with the term 'crypto-religious' enables us to understand the blurredness and multifariousness of some central concepts related to conversion. The existence of crypto-Jews and crypto-Christians is linked in many cases to a blurring of boundaries between the religions. Crypto-religious groups with their manifold paradoxical features represent a particularly good starting point for critically reviewing well accepted terms such as conversion, apostasy, syncretism, or toleration. The chapter discusses three pairs of opposites: conversion vs. apostasy, syncretism vs. orthodoxy and compulsion vs. toleration. Finally, it presents the cases of crypto-Jews or crypto-Christians in greater detail.

Keywords: Crypto-Christians; crypto-Jews; Crypto-religious group; Middle East; Muslim



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