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[daily_crcs] WedForum 20 May: Kristine T Utterback
Friday, May 15, 2009 9:57 AM
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Forum 20 May 2009:
KRISTINE T. UTTERBACK, Ph. D
JEWISH RESISTANCE TO CONVERSION IN
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
12.30 pm – 2.30 pm (free lunch)
Room 306, Third floor, UGM Graduate
Jln. Teknika Utara Pogung Yogyakarta
Jews, Christians and Muslims co-existed more or
less amicably on the Iberian Peninsula, in what is now Spain, from
about the eighth to the thirteenth century, a situation often called convivencia (living together). By the middle of the thirteenth century,
however, convivencia was breaking
down, and Jews came under increasing pressure to convert to Christianity: in
1391 a pogrom throughout Spain fatally weakened the Jewish communities there;
in 1492 King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella, whose marriage united the two
largest kingdoms of the peninsula into Spain, required Jews to convert to
Christianity or leave the newly unified country.
The eventual destruction
of Judaism in Spain
may give the impression of the inevitability of Jewish disappearance from the
region, but it was anything but inevitable.
Jews did not sit idly by and wait for the dissolution of their
communities through conversion. They no
doubt assumed that this was simply another threat to Jewish survival, and they
employed resistance tactics that had worked before. This essay examines some of the tactics that
Jews in the Kingdom of Aragon, now northern Spain, used to resist conversion to
Christianity. These tactics included
various sorts of polemical writings, appeal to support from the king and
attempts to rejudaize converts, that
is, bring them back to Judaism. The Jews
eventually failed, but between the mid-thirteenth and mid-fourteenth centuries
they had no reason to expect failure, and their tactics indicate a community
concerned but far from defeated.
About the Speaker
T. UTTERBACK, PhD, Associate Professor of Religious Studies and History, University of Wyoming
Visiting Fulbright Scholar, General Education
Centre, Hong Kong Polytechnic University,
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