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Sephardic Jews Leave Genetic Legacy In Spain - HISTORY

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Author Topic: Sephardic Jews Leave Genetic Legacy In Spain - HISTORY  (Read 6009 times)
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« Reply #15 on: December 07, 2008, 12:56:25 pm »


Those Jews who had been unable to leave Portugal were baptized into the Christian faith and officially designated "New-Christians" to distinguish them from the "Old-Christians."

Many Jews accepted the new religion which had been imposed upon them and with the passage of time gradually adapted to Christian society, but equally there were many others who covertly remained resistent. While they had to all appearances yield, they never abdicated their faith which was passed down from generation to generation, and maintained within a restricted ambit and the family circle, with a degree of religiosity marked by secrecy. These were the crypto-Jews who publically followed Catholic rituals but who, in the privacy of their own homes, maintained their religion and culture and celebrated Hebrew rites on holy days.

During this period, over which the Inquistion cast a long shadow, the term marrano (which means "pig" in popular and archaic language) was used derogatorily by Old Christians when speaking of crypto-Jews. The Court of the Holy Office often took action against the New-Christians or crypto-Jews accusing them of following the Jewish faith, and therefore, of being guilty of apostasy.

Sentences and sanctions imposed by the Inquistion against the accused ranged from public forswearing of the alleged sins, the obligatory wearing of a special penitential habit, a sambenito, to burning at the stake.

Among the Jews who died at the hands of the Inquisition were well-known names of the period such as Isaac de Castro Tartas, Antonio Serrao de Castro and Antonio Jose da Silva, who was known to history as "The Jew."

Apart from the periods during which the activities of the Inquisition were suspended, it was only in the 18th century that its power was completely curtailed with the introduction of the Englightenment policies of the Marquis of Pombal, principal minister to King Jose I (1750-1777). The last public "auto de fe" at which Jews professing their religion were condemned took place in 1765, though the Inquisition was only formally disbanded in 1821.
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