Cadernos de Estudos Sefarditas

1st semester 2019


ISSN: 1645-1910

Part I: Dossier: Judeo-Christian Sephardic
and Iberian Identities

Claude B. Stuczynski (Bar-Ilan University) – Introduction: What does “Judeo-Christianity” mean in Late Medieval and Early Modern Iberia?

Cadernos de Estudos Sefarditas 20 (1st semester 2019): 11-34

Erika Tritle (Ben Gurion University of the Negev) – Many Rivers, One Sea, and the Dry Land: Jews and Conversos in the Political Theology of Alonso de Cartagena

Cadernos de Estudos Sefarditas 20 (1st semester 2019): 35-53


Conversos; nobility; theology; Alonso de Cartagena; Castile


This essay explores a range of works by Alonso de Cartagena, bishop of Burgos from 1435-1456, and places them within the context of fifteenth-century debates about Conversos, nobility, and Castilian and Spanish national identities. Through careful attention to the role of Jews and Judaism within Cartagena’s thought, it shows that the bishop worked to forge a Judeo-Christian identity for Spain in which Conversos were not simply included or tolerated but required, precisely because of their Jewish lineage, for the Church Militant and the Spanish “nation” to fulfill their divinely-ordained missions. To counter the developing racial logic of opponents to Conversos’ integration, Cartagena distinguished between the relative roles of lineage and will in the Jews’ fall from theological nobility. However, the logic of this approach entailed the exclusion of observant Jews, along with “pagans” and Muslims, from the civil and religious community that Cartagena envisioned.

Nadia Zeldes (Ben Gurion University of the Negev) – Arguments for a Judeo-Christian Identity in the Writings of Antonio de Ferrariis: Pro-Converso Polemics in Southern Italy

Cadernos de Estudos Sefarditas 20 (1st semester 2019): 55-79


Antonio de Ferrariis (Galateo), Belisario Acquaviva, Conversos, Religious polemics, Humanism, Jews


In the letter titled De Neophitis, Antonio de Ferrariis, Galateo (1448-1517) counters entrenched prejudices against conversos in southern Italy. The letter is addressed to Duke Belisario Acquaviva in response to critique over the marriage of one of the duke’s sons to a conversa. The letter emphasizes the Jewish roots of Christianity, and perhaps also calls for a Judeo-Christian religious identity. The author also accentuates the Jewishness of Christ, the Virgin, and the first apostles.
The present article attempts to analyze Galateo’s arguments in favor of the New Christians, examine his religious notions, and identify his sources. As yet, the Italian “converso question” and its polemics have so far eluded the attention of scholars who mapped various aspects of this very question in Spain and Portugal.

Axel Kaplan Szyld (Bar-Ilan University)- Motivos judeo-cristianos en el pensamiento de Fray Luis de Granada (1504-1588)

Cadernos de Estudos Sefarditas 20 (1st semester 2019): 81-98


Friar Louis of Granada, biblical exegesis, New Christians, Israel of the flesh/spirit, supersessionism


In this article I will underscore a theology imbibed with Judaeo-Christian motifs, through an analysis of the Fourth Part of Friar Luis de Granada’s masterpiece: Introducción del Símbolo de la fe (1583). The context in which lived the author, explains why this theology endorsed a bidimensional message. On the one hand, an identification with the New Christian group, with the aim of reinforcing them into the Christian faith. On the other hand, a reminder that they should be accepted and not excluded, in a society which was divided by the pride of blood and lineage.

Ronnie Perelis (Yeshiva University, New York) – Turning and Turning Towards the Lord: Protestant Ideas and the Religious Journey of Manoel Cardoso de Macedo from Old Christian to Calvinist to Jew

Cadernos de Estudos Sefarditas 20 (1st semester 2019): 99-116


Inquisition, Conversion, Calvinism, Crypto-Judaism, Early Modern Autobiography


Manuel Cardoso de Macedo (1585–1652) is a man of multiple worlds, as his Azorean Catholic youth, his years living as a protestant in England, his encounter with crypto-Judaism and his eventual embrace of normative Judaism in Amsterdam’s Sephardic community certainly attest. Cardoso wrote an eloquent and carefully crafted spiritual Autobiography during his time living as a Jew in Amsterdam, La Vida del buenaventurado Abraham Pelengrino. In this essay I look at the pivotal years Cardoso spent in England where he first encountered Protestant ideas and I interrogate the way some of those fundamental ideas continue to inform his self-understanding even after his embrace of Judaism. In this essay I examine his religious transformations and the ways he describes those transformations from the vantage point of the Calvinist ideas he encountered especially the concept of providence and grace. The essay asks in what ways is his religious journey fueled by particularly English Protestant sensibilities and concerns. How is his eventual embrace of Judaism informed by this encounter?

Alexander van der Haven (Ben Gurion University of the Negev) – Jewish-Christianity and the Confessionalization of Amsterdam’s Seventeenth-Century Portuguese Jewish Community

Cadernos de Estudos Sefarditas 20 (1st semester 2019): 117-143


Jewish-Christianity, confessionalization, seventeenth-century Amsterdam, conversion between Judaism and Christianity, Sephardic Jewish history


Until the second half of the seventeenth century, Jewish-Christianity at the margins of the Sephardic congregations of Amsterdam’s Golden Age did not articulate itself as a conscious forging of bridges between two clearly distinct religions. Instead, it was a counterculture of Iberian conversos and Dutch Gentiles who resisted or ignored the confessionalization of Amsterdam’s Iberian converso community and Christian churches. This essay analyzes several expressions of this Jewish-Christian counterculture against the background of the Confessional Age, namely inclusivist soteriologies, Jewish-Christian marital and other social relations, conversions of insufficiently confessionalized ‘New Jews’ back to Christianity, and Gentile converts to Judaism who failed to adopt a Jewish exclusivist rejection of Christianity

Part II: Articles

Eleazar Gutwirth (Tel Aviv University)- Judeo-Mudéjar?: Identities, Letters and Numbers in Toledan Synagogues

Cadernos de Estudos Sefarditas 20 (1st semester 2019): 147-179


Synagogues, Mudejar, Late Medieval Sefarad, Hispano-Jewish thought


The article questions interpretations of mudejar art and architecture in terms of religious/ethnic conflict. It suggests that the synagogal components may be better understood by attention to the worshipers’ internal texts and by reconstructing their own traditions such as attitudes towards monumental buildings, inscriptions, heraldry, the monarchy, Hebrew letters and numbers.

Marcus Vinicius Reis (Universidade Federal do Sul e Sudeste do Pará)- “Because it is known that women are keen on novelty and curiosities”: types of witch and New Christian women from the process of Simoa de São Nicolau

Cadernos de Estudos Sefarditas 20 (1st semester 2019): 181-204


Portuguese Tribunal of the Holy Office, 16th century, gender relations, magical-religious practices, New Christian women.


Born in Ribeira de Santarém, Simoa Ribeira only became notorious among her neighbours when she moved to Lisbon. Before that, she had been abandoned by her spouse, who had left for India and died there, and had been forced to leave her children at the Santarém hospital due to financial difficulties and the countless setbacks she suffered during that stay. After, she became known as Simoa of São Nicolau, a name suggested by the Benedictine friar Plácido. She was arrested by the Holy Office in 1587 and her process – on-going until the following year – was motivated by the inquisitors’ interest in investigating the reasons for the nickname “Devil’s Nun”. In view of this information, this paper seeks to revive the trajectory of this New Christian, by analysing how she built a relative social fame from her interest in reaffirming her relations with the Devil, and by inserting it within a wider context of women’s action in the face of patriarchal and misogynistic structures.

Hugo Martins (Faculdade de Letras da Universidade de Lisboa) – The rabbis of the Portuguese-Jewish community of Hamburg from 1652 to 1682

Cadernos de Estudos Sefarditas 20 (1st semester 2019): 205-227


Sephardic diaspora, New Christians, Jewish community, Portuguese nation, religious leadership.


Taking as reference the information contained in the protocol books, and on a lesser scale, others studies and sources relative to the topic, the present research undertakes an itinerary of the various rabbis who came to play a prominent role in the religious life of the Portuguese-Jewish community of Hamburg between 1652 and 1682. In particular, it was taken into account their impact in congregational life, their relationship with communal leadership, as well as their biographical and intellectual background before their affiliation to the institutional and religious body of the Portuguese community of Hamburg. The aim of the present study is thus to unmask new and essential aspects of the social and religious history of the community, in that which is widely considered to be one of the most crucial periods of its development: the formation of the single congregation Bet Israel.

Part III: Reviews

Anita Novinsky, Viver nos tempos da Inquisição, São Paulo, Perspectiva, 2018.

Angelo Adriano Faria de Assis

Cadernos de Estudos Sefarditas 20 (1st semester 2019): 231-235

Jonathan Karp and Adam Sutcliffe, The Cambridge History of Judaism, vol. 7: The Early Modern World, 1500-1815, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2018

Carla Vieira e Susana Bastos Mateus

Cadernos de Estudos Sefarditas 20 (1st semester 2019): 235-243