Mimesis and alterity: the conversions of Muslims and Jews in early modern Spain and Portugal

José Alberto R. Silva Tavim
2021 Hamsa. Journal of Judaic and Islamic studies  
Mimesis behavior "Your Holiness should take great heed of my warning, because God knows, that it is full of Christian zeal, being myself from a Hebrew nation, converted spontaneously to our Holy Catholic faith, born and raised in Ferrara from noble and wealthy parents." 1 1 Those words belong to a João Baptista d'Este, the Christian name of a converted Jew formerly known as Abraham Bendanan Serfatim, who was baptized in Évora, a town in the south of Portugal, in 1601. The letter was addressed
more » ... Pope Urban VIII (1623-44) in 1637, and his warning was appertaining the pernicious influence of the so-called conversos in Italy. Conversos were Jews which were forcefully made to convert to Catholicism in Portugal at the end of the fifteenth century after the mandate of general expulsion of Jews and Muslims was given in December 1496. D'Este's warning to the Pope becomes increasingly explicit as he considers that "(...) if the vile humors of this Hebrew Nation is provoked, with their obstinacy, they will spill out of the bosom, and will contaminate the small portion of pure blood that still exists [in Italy], as occurred in Spain (...)" 2 . 2 The documents we have at our disposal to deal with the conversion of Jews and Muslims, and their integration in Christian Europe, are mainly procedural, presenting Mimesis and alterity: the conversions of Muslims and Jews in early modern Spa...
doi:10.4000/hamsa.1448 fatcat:yf73sswzj5c2toxzifqciuuzjq