Cadernos de Estudos Sefarditas

2nd semester 2018


ISSN: 1645-1910

Part I: Articles

Carsten L. Wilke (Central European University) – The New Christians of Tavira in the Sixteenth Century: Trade, Diaspora and Religious Heterodoxy between Morocco and the Low Countries

Cadernos de Estudos Sefarditas 19 (2018): 11-28


Algarve; Crypto-Judaism; Protestantism; Messianism; Commerce

This article focuses on the New Christian community that existed in Tavira, the major Algarvian city of the mid-sixteenth century. Its trade networks connected it to the French, English, and Flemish seaports, as well as to the Moroccan Sephardim. Knowledge about non-Catholic religions reached the Taviran New Christians from both ends of their trade route; and their beliefs and practices evidence a complex culture, including crypto-Jewish rituals, clandestine Bible readings, messianic expectations aroused by the Protestant Reformation, the infiltration of Moroccan Jewish traditions, and calls for Church reform among local Old Christians. Testimony from the Lisbon Inquisition, which destroyed this community in 1563-1567, is completed by the Marrakesh Dialogues, a polemical Jewish work written in Spanish by Estêvão Dias, a Taviran exile in Antwerp. These new sources will help to place this local community in its larger European and African framework.

Javier Luis Álvarez Santos (CHAM – NOVA FCSH) – Judeo-Christian identity and island identities in border areas: Tenerife conversos’s interests in Atlantic trade networks (1550-1650)

Cadernos de Estudos Sefarditas 19 (2018): 29-46


Trade, Transnational, Cross-border, Contact area, Islander, Ocean

People of different origins settled in the Canary Islands during the period of consolidation of the Atlantic, among them an important community of Judeo-Christians with an interest in the Atlantic economy. These agents were aware that they had to intervene in the local political and mercantile administration in order to boost their connections. Therefore, their personal profits – and those of the members of their network – were juxtaposed with the potential economic performance of an insular space.
Supported by classic island studies and new documentary contributions, this research aims to study the New Christians as conductive elements that united the needs of the archipelago with the Atlantic commercial circuit and, at the same time, represented the interests of foreign networks. Ultimately, this communion of interests impacted on the social conformation of a border space and on the construction of an identity of identities in the insular population.

François Soyer (University of New England) – ‘Secret Synagogues’: Fact and Fantasy from Portugal to Macau

Cadernos de Estudos Sefarditas 19 (2018): 47-66


Portugal; Macau; Synagogue; Judaism; Conversos

Ideas and fantasies about Jews and Judaism have constituted an integral part of the cultural matrix through which Christians in the Western World have fashioned their understanding of the world. This article examines the claims made by the Jesuit Francisco de Meneses and inquisitor Rui Sodrinho de Mesquita concerning the existence of a large community of Judaizing conversos established in Macau and seeking to operate a secret synagogue. When analyzed against the well-established trend amongst early modern Spanish and Portuguese writers to vastly exaggerate the size of converso communities and the extent of judaizing, a necessary note of caution must arise in the way that such claims about Judaizing conversos are treated by historians.

Jaap Cohen (independent scholar) – The inescapable ancestry of Eli d’Oliveira. A Dutch Sephardic rescue operation based upon the myth of Sephardic superiority, 1941-1944

Cadernos de Estudos Sefarditas 19 (2018): 67-84


Action Portuguesia; Sephardim; World War II; Myth of Sephardic Superiority; Amsterdam

During World War II, the Sephardic psychological counsellor Eli d’Oliveira from Amsterdam undertook great efforts to evade deportation in a legal way. He tried to prove to the Nazi occupier that he descended from Christian families in the Iberian Peninsula and hence did not belong to the Jewish ‘race’. D’Oliveira was not the only one who did so. He took part in the so-called Action Portuguesia, a rather large-scale rescue operation in which a group of Dutch Sephardim tried to evade deportation collectively by implementing parts of the pseudo-scientific racial discourse, which stood at the centre of National Socialist ideology. Their theory was based upon the myth of Sephardic superiority. In this article, the author describes and analyses the Action Portuguesia through the eyes of Eli d’Oliveira. By taking this biographical approach, both the rational and emotional arguments behind a highly controversial episode in Sephardic WW II historiography come to light.

Part II: Chronicles

Cláudia Ninhos – Workshop “The Portuguese Jewish Community of Amsterdam: places of memory”. Lisbon, April 9 2018

Ignacio Chuecas Saldías – International Workshop “Os papéis da Inquisição. Conservação e dispersão na Europa, América e Ásia / Papeles de la Inquisición. Conservación y dispersión en Europa, América y Asia” (Inquisition papers. Conservation and dispersion in Europe, America, and Asia). Lisbon, June 25, 2018

Andrea Cicerchia – Workshop “As Inquisições entre realidade e perceção. Figuras institucionais e Espiritualidade” (Inquisitions Between Reality and Perception: Institutional Figures and Spirituality). Lisbon, October 31, 2018

Anabela Fernandes, Ana Isabel Ribeiro e Joana Cortez-Smyth – Project “Do discurso e da cultura na diáspora sefardita portuguesa” (On discourse and culture in the Portuguese Sephardic Diaspora)

Part III: Reviews

Angelo Adriano Faria de Assis – Ana Hutz, Homens de nação e de negócios: redes comerciais no mundo ibérico (1580-1640), São Paulo, Intermeios, 2017

Cristóbal José Álvarez López – Ángel Berenguer Amador, El libro sefardí La güerta de oro de David M. Atías (Liorna, 1778). Edición y estudio lingüístico del verbo, Zaragoza, Pórtico / Lausanne, Sociedad Suiza de Estudios Hispánicos, 2017

Carla Vieira – David Wertheim (ed.), The Jew as a Legitimation. Jewish-Gentile Relations Beyond Antisemitism and Philosemitism, New York, Pallgrave Macmillan, 2017

Susana Bastos Mateus – Paloma Díaz-Mas e Elisa Martín Ortega (eds.), Mujeres sefardíes lectoras y escritoras, siglos XIX-XXI, Madrid, Iberoamericana, 2016