Conversion and its Intellectual Consequences: Early Modern Iberia and Beyond (Catholic Christendom, 1300–1700)

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9781472454904: Conversion and its Intellectual Consequences: Early Modern Iberia and Beyond (Catholic Christendom, 1300–1700)

The assimilation of large numbers of converts from Judaism and Islam in late medieval and early modern Iberia forced both converts and Old Christians to confront Islamic and Jewish sacred texts, prophets, lineages, languages, and practices. The integration of religious minorities destabilized traditional categories of religious difference and produced novel forms of social and political identity, while the strategies employed for the assimilation of the Spanish multi-confessional past transformed the very conditions of scholarly inquiry. Exploring these processes, this volume reframes the way that scholars understand the early-modern Iberian religion and culture through a series of interlocking questions: What narrative and scholarly strategies were developed in fields such as historiography or biblical exegesis? How did conversion affect religious attitudes towards faith and confession? How does this challenge the way textual or even visual evidence should be read and interpreted? And what place do these problems occupy in the larger picture of early-modern Europe? In order to fully explore these themes, the book is divided into three parts, each of four chapters. The first part considers the ways integrating new converts from Judaism and Islam stimulated Christian scholars to confront those converts’ sacred texts, prophets, lineages, languages, and practices. Part two addresses the ways that polemical works, as well as distinctively Iberian translations of the Quran and the Hebrew Bible, were put to use in other European countries and in very different religious circumstances. The final part looks at how newly converted Christians struggled to protect their vanishing autonomy, as inquisitors sought to root out apostasy within an emerging economy of doubt.

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