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Invention of a Literary Genre

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Chapter Summary

The Marrakesh Dialogues were written at a high tide of Jewish-Christian controversy. They are exactly contemporary with two major works of Christian anti-Jewish writing. This work, according to one historian, "has probably been the most influential and popular work in the whole [of] Jewish anti-Christian literature". The style of the Dialogues is indeed very different from the works of other prominent authors of that period. The literary innovation of the Marrakesh Dialogues consists of the adaptation of the dialogue tradition used by Christian apologists to Jewish needs. The Marrakesh Dialogues should be read as a Jewish guide to conversion that addresses the experience of young male Iberians steeped in the European culture of the Renaissance. Historiography does not give Estêvão Dias' Marrakesh Dialogues its due place alongside Samuel Usque's Consolation for the Tribulations of Israel. Both authors express the worldview of Portuguese New Christians return to Judaism.

Keywords: Estêvão Dias; literary innovation; Marrakesh Dialogues; Samuel Usque

10.1163/9789004274020_007
/content/books/b9789004274020_007
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