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The Origins of the Inquisition in 15th Century Spain

Benzion Netanyahu (New York Review of Books: September 2001), 1424 pages.

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. ~ Product Description

Table of Contents

    • Preface to the Second Edition
    • Introduction
  • Bk. 1    Historical Background
    • I    The Jewish Question    3
    • II    The Spanish Scene    28
    • II    The Age of Conversions    127
  • Bk. 2    The Reign of Juan II
    • I    The Struggle for Monarchic Superiority    217
    • II    The Great Debate    351
    • III    Reverses and Triumphs    662
  • Bk. 3    Enrique IV and the Catholic Kings
    • I    Enrique IV: His Aims and Tactics    715
    • II    Later Old Christian Controversy    814
    • III    The Chroniclers of Enrique IV    897
    • IV    The Catholic Kings: The Early Period    915
  • Bk. 4    The Origins of the Inquisition
    • I    The Major Causes    925
    • II    Sidelights and Afterthoughts    1048
    • App. A    The Number of the Marranos in Spain    1095
    • App. B    Diego de Anaya and His Advocacy of Limpieza    1103
    • App. C    When Did Sarmiento Leave Toledo?    1106
    • App. D    Juan de Torquemada    1110
    • App. E    The Gibraltar Project    1122
    • App. F    The Death of Enrique IV    1127
    • App. G    Espina’s Source for the “Tale of the Two Tents”    1131
    • App. H    The Abuse of the Conversos as “Judaizers”: When Did It Begin?    1133
    • App. I    Bernaldez on the Conversos’ Occupations    1137
    • App. J    Racism in Germany and Spain    1141
    • App. K    The Converso Conspiracies Against the Inquisition    1147
    • Notes    1173
    • Bibliography    1321
    • Acknowledgments    1349
    • Index    1351