Cover image for The origins of the Inquisition in fifteenth century Spain
The origins of the Inquisition in fifteenth century Spain
Netanyahu, B. (Benzion), 1910-2012.
Second edition.
Publication Information:
New York : New York Review Books, 2001.
Physical Description:
xxiv, 1384 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations ; 24 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Central Library BX1735 .N48 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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The Spanish Inquisition remains a fearful symbol of state terror. Its principal target was the conversos , descendants of Spanish Jews who had been forced to convert to Christianity some three generations earlier. Since thousands of them confessed to charges of practicing Judaism in secret, historians have long understood the Inquisition as an attempt to suppress the Jews of Spain. In this magisterial reexamination of the origins of the Inquisition, Netanyahu argues for a different view: that the conversos were in fact almost all genuine Christians who were persecuted for political ends. The Inquisition's attacks not only on the conversos' religious beliefs but also on their "impure blood" gave birth to an anti-Semitism based on race that would have terrible consequences for centuries to come.

This book has become essential reading and an indispensable reference book for both the interested layman and the scholar of history and religion.

Author Notes

B. Netanyahu has achieved international recognition for his groundbreaking historical studies of Spain's Jews and Marranos. Best known among his works are Don Isaac Abravanel and The Marranos of Spain, whose conclusions concerning Marrano Christianization provoked widespread scholarly debate and praise. Professor Netanyahu has been editor in chief of the Encyclopedia Hebraica, general editor of the World History of the Jewish People, and co-editor of the Jewish Quarterly Review. He is a fellow of the American Academy for Jewish Research, a member of the Real Academia de Bellas Artes y Ciencias Historicas in Spain, and professor emeritus at Cornell University

Table of Contents

Preface to the Second Editionp. xiii
Introductionp. xv
Book 1 Historical Background
I. The Jewish Questionp. 3
II. The Spanish Scenep. 28
I. Earlier Stagesp. 28
II. The Second Cyclep. 54
III. The Castilian Citiesp. 74
IV. Debacle and Transitionp. 93
III. The Age of Conversionsp. 127
I. Ferran Martinezp. 129
II. Paul of Burgosp. 168
III. The Conversos Enter Spanish Societyp. 207
Book 2 The Reign of Juan II
I. The Struggle for Monarchic Superiorityp. 217
I. The King and His Ministerp. 217
II. Precursors of Toledo, 1449p. 254
III. The Outbreak of the Rebellionp. 296
IV. Toledo Under the Rebelsp. 314
V. The Rebels Under the Princep. 328
II. The Great Debatep. 351
I. First Attack on the Conversosp. 351
I. The Petitionp. 351
II. The Sentencia-Estatutop. 367
II. Converso Counter-Attackp. 385
I. The Relatorp. 385
II. Juan de Torquemadap. 421
III. Second Attack on the Conversosp. 486
I. The Memorialp. 486
II. The Privilegep. 512
IV. Conversos Bare Their Final Goalsp. 517
I. Alonso de Cartagenap. 517
II. Diego de Valerap. 578
V. The Political Views of the Toledan Rebelsp. 584
VI. Old Christian Apologies for the Conversosp. 606
I. Fernan Perez de Guzmanp. 606
II. Lope de Barrientosp. 610
III. Alonso Diaz de Montalvop. 619
VII. The Historiographic Evidence: The Cronicas of Juan IIp. 628
III. Reverses and Triumphsp. 662
I. The Aftermath of the Rebellionp. 662
II. End of Alvaro de Lunap. 681
III. Closing the Circlep. 709
Book 3 Enrique IV and the Catholic Kings
I. Enrique IV: His Aims and Tacticsp. 715
I. The Baffling Kingp. 715
II. The Delusive Peacep. 724
III. Pacheco Undermines the Regimep. 744
IV. The Civil War and the Second Toledan Outburstp. 768
V. Anti-Marrano Fury Engulfs the Southp. 794
II. Later Old Christian Controversyp. 814
I. Alonso de Espinap. 814
II. The Alboraiquep. 848
III. Alonso de Oropesap. 855
III. The Chroniclers of Enrique IVp. 897
IV. The Catholic Kings: The Early Periodp. 915
Book 4 The Origins of the Inquisition
I. The Major Causesp. 925
I. The Lesson of the Sourcesp. 925
II. The Social-Economic Reasonsp. 950
III. The Rise of Racismp. 975
IV. Ferdinand of Aragonp. 1005
V. Conclusionsp. 1041
II. Sidelights and Afterthoughtsp. 1048
I. Conceptions and Realitiesp. 1048
II. The Racial Substitutep. 1052
III. The Parallel Drivep. 1055
IV. The Unchanged Goalp. 1064
V. Struggling Assimilationp. 1070
VI. The Insidious Pretextp. 1074
VII. The Destructive Urgep. 1078
VIII. Expulsionp. 1087
A. The Number of the Marranos in Spainp. 1095
B. Diego de Anaya and His Advocacy of Limpiezap. 1103
C. When Did Sarmiento Leave Toledo?p. 1106
D. Juan de Torquemadap. 1110
I. Race and the Jewish Peoplep. 1110
II. More on the Judaizersp. 1113
III. On the Reliability of Torquemada's Testimony Concerning the Conversosp. 1117
E. The Gibraltar Projectp. 1122
F. The Death of Enrique IVp. 1127
G. Espina's Source for the "Tale of the Two Tents"p. 1131
H. The Abuse of the Conversos as "Judaizers": When Did It Begin?p. 1133
I. Bernaldez on the Conversos' Occupationsp. 1137
J. Racism in Germany and Spainp. 1141
K. The Converso Conspiracies Against the Inquisitionp. 1147
Notesp. 1173
Bibliographyp. 1321
Acknowledgmentsp. 1349
Indexp. 1351

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