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Seventeenth-Century Spain and its ‘Jewish Problem’: The Centinela contra Judíos and its Historical Context

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Chapter Summary

The Centinela contra Judíos is a vitriolic polemical attack upon the Jews. The situation in seventeenth-century Spain presents some particularities that were not found in any other part of Europe with the exception of neighbouring Portugal. The conversos were the product of a wave of forced conversions starting in the late fourteenth century and ending in the last decade of the fifteenth century. Whatever the beliefs of the conversos were, and they were certainly complex, what is important is that Fray Francisco de Torrejoncillo and a very large section of the Old Christian population, including members of both the secular and ecclesiastical elite as well as the populace or so-called "third-estate", were convinced that crypto-Judaism was rife amongst the conversos of Spain and Portugal. The 'converso problem' and the outbreaks of violence between 'Old' and 'New' Christians threatened the religious, social and political stability of their kingdoms.

Keywords: Centinela contra Judíos; conversos; crypto-Judaism; Francisco de Torrejoncillo; Jews; New Christians; Portugal; seventeenth-century Spain

10.1163/9789004268876_002
/content/books/b9789004268876s002
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