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Entre el Islam y Occidente

Mercedes García-Arenal


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1Javier Castaño
Pseudo-Isidorian Political Prophetism and Religious Polemic in Jewish Writers of Castile and Fez
Ever since the war of Granada around 1485, and continuing into the early decades of the 16th century, an unusual interest has been observed in Jewish writers of the Rabbinic elite, both in Castile and later in the
megorašim of Fez, in a series of eschatological predictions apocryphally attributed to Isidore of Seville. Originally, the Christian cycle of «pseudo-Isidorian» prophecies placed the final eschatological confrontation with heretics and non-believers in the context of the situation prevailing in Spain towards the end of the 15th century. The Hebrew narrative analysed here reflects not only a Jewish interest in this eschatological speculation, but also the need to neutralise the anti-Jewish rhetoric of the story of the Vindicta Salvatoris through the creation and distribution among the Jewish public of «counter-stories». The original distortion resulted in the breakdown of the religious polemic content implicit in it.

2Esperanza Alfonso
‘Abd al-Karím al-Magīlī (b. ca. 1440), The Socio-Literary Context of a Poem against the Jews
At the beginning of the 15th century the established Jewish communities of the Sahara began a process of gradual decline. The good relationship which the Jews of the region had had with the Merinī and Wa
ṭṭasī authorities, their high level of integration with the local Muslim population and the prosperity which they had enjoyed until then, all started to diminish. The lack of security, together with the growing hostility of the population, led to violent incidents amongst which the one led by ‘Ahd al Karīm al-Magīlī (b. ca. 1440) against the Jewish community of Tuwāt stands out. This article analyses the rhetoric which al-Magīlī used to incite the Muslims, focusing on a poem which could well have been the trigger for what happened. This poem brings to mind another, written several centuries earlier by the Andalucian Abu Isāq of Elvira, a poem which coincides with the attacks against the Jewish quarter of Granada in 1066, in which Yūsuf ibn Nagrella was killed. The article deals with the literary and socio-political context in which both poems were written, as well as the possible relationship between both of them.

3Pilar Huerga Criado
Marranism in the Iberian Peninsula and the Sephardi Communities
In the 17th century the Sephardim became integrated into the old Jewish Mediterranean communities, the new European Jewish communities and the
converso communities of the Iberian Península. An analysis of the relationship between the conversos and the Jewish communities of the Maghreb within this wider framework reveals that the communications and interchanges which took place between them were much less important both quantitively and qualitatively than those these conversos had with the new European Jews. This appears to be an exceptional, rather than a general phenomenon amongst the Jews of the Maghreb. In addition, the structure of the relationship of their interchanges was less complex, and also weaker. This can be explained by the different historical routes they took.

4Bernardo J. López Belinchón
Adventurers, Merchants and «maestros dogmatizantes». North Aerican Jews and Iberian Judeo-Conversos in 17th Century Spain
The mainly economic links which existed between the North African Jews and particularly the
megorašim and the conversos of mainland Spain were extended in the 17th century by contact with the Jewish communities of the Atlantic (Amsterdam) and Italy (Livorno). The free flow of commercial and personal relationships enabled many people to pass through various places on this circuit and consequently change their religious identity. For example, some Iberian conversos went to North Africa to return to Judaism. At the same time, North African Jews emigrated to the Iberian Península. Apart from those who came with the King’s permission, many Jews looked to the Spanish Crown for an improvement in their personal lot or that of their family. Their migration brought about an apparent change of religion through baptism. Although some avoided contact with the Iberian conversos, others were warmly received by the crypto-Jews as a source of learning, as symbols of their faith, and, in some cases, succeeded in encouraging messianic feelings.

5José Alberto Rodrigues da Silva Tavim
A «Strange Tolérance» by the Portuguese Inquisition. Belchior Vaz de Azevedo and the Interest of the European Powers in Morocco in the Second Half of the 16th Century.
The fate of Belchior Vaz de Azevedo illustrates the life history of many Portuguese New Christians who, while starting their careers in Portuguese territories (in this case in Arcila and Tangiers), eventually entered the service of other rulers who were interested in making use of their vast knowledge for their own political, economic or strategic ends. Belchior Vaz served Protestant monarchs such as Antonio de Borbón and Elizabeth I of England who wanted to further their interests in Morocco to counter the sphere of Hispanic influence. He himself seems to have converted to Protestantism, as can be deduced from the testimony of Portuguese prisoners captured in North Africa. Interrogated by the Holy Office of Lisbon in 1562 or 1563, Belchior showed himself to be a true Catholic although some witnesses affirmed that he had returned to Judaism. Notwithstanding the gravity –according to the criteria of the time– of the accusations against him, Belchior was set free and served as
Introductor (Head of Protocol) to the abbot of Brantôme when he visited D. Sebastián in 1564. The trial of Belchior Vaz de Azevedo causes us to ask ourselves once again how the Inquisition functioned in terms of the penalties it applied and about the significance of the religious experience of these men who in the 16th century journeyed from one place to another and from one religion to another.

6Claude B. Stuczynski
Moroccan Apostates of Jewish Origin in Portugal in the 16th to 17th Centuries. Between the mission and the Inquisition
This article addresses the phenomenon of the Moroccan apostates of Jewish origin tried by the Portuguese Inquisition at the end of the 16th century and the beginning of the 17th century and its implications for the Iberian Peninsula. From the point of view of the typology of those put on trial it can be seen that it concerns a group with its own characteristics. Sometimes these resemble the profile of the Judaizing New Christian, at other times they resemble that of the apostate of Jewish origin in Italy or of the
mourisco in Portugal. On the other hand, from the point of view of the existence of a mission in a Portugal obsessed by the repression of New Christians of Jewish origin, two hypotheses can be considered: a) That the presence of apostates on Portuguese soil provides evidence of the contradiction between missionary inclusion and inquisitorial exclusion of the Christians of Jewish origin; b) That there is a coherent relationship in the strange co-existence of these two models with respect to the conversion of the Jews (mission and Inquisition) in the context of the particular history of Portugal.

7Mercedes García-Arenal
The Jews of Fez Through the Trial by Inquisition of the Almosninos (1621)
The basis of this study is the documentation of two trials by the Inquisition of Isaac and Moses Almosnino, Jews from Fez, which took place in Lisbon between 1617 and 1620. The trials were somewhat unusual because they concern charges against Jews who had never converted to Christianity and who, belonging to a prominent Fez family of Castilian origin, are an example of those Moroccan Jews about whom the European sources have the least to say: those who did not live on the frontier and were not intermediaries with the Christian powers, The Almosninos were seized in Goa, in Portuguese India, whilst accompanying the retinue of the Persian ambassador, and were accused of being Jewish
conversos from Porto. Through their trial, and through the detailed evidence they were required to give, we can draw a picture of a broad spectrum of Moroccan Jewish families: those who lived in the interior of the country, at the heart of the community, those who were traders, intermediaries or Spanish and Portuguese translators. Those who, in the end, had decided to try to return to the Iberian Peninsula and to convert to Christianity. The trial also gives us information about the education, religious knowledge and language of these Jews, and their strategies both as a community and as individuals, which were often diverse and contradictory, even amongst members of the same family.

8Jean-Frédéric Schaub
From Almosnino to Cansino. A Book and its Contexts
Around 1650, Jacob Cansino, a Jew who lived in the city of Oran, translated the
Libro de los Extremos y Grandezas de Constantinopla (Book of the Magnificence and Greatness of Constantinople), the work of Rabbi Moses Almosnino of Salonica, into Spanish. As an introduction to this work, Cansino listed all the services the Cansino family had performed for the Spanish Crown, so that the published book consists of two parallel texts, or rather the translation is the pretext for justifying the introductory panegyric. The twofold objective of this introduction can be detected by careful reading. On the one hand, to show that the Jews were useful because of the knowledge they had of the Muslim world in general and of the Ottoman world in particular. On the other, to support the cause of Jacob Cansino himself, who wrote this panegyric in Madrid, closely watched by the Inquisition, at a time when he was in competition with a member of the other great Jewish family from Oran Jacob Saporras, for the official title of Royal Translator.

9Juan Ignacio Pulido Serrano
Agreement through Necessity. The Jews of Oran under the Catholic Monarchy during the 16th and 17th Centuries
In this study, the demographic make up, business activities and professional occupations of the Jews of Oran are described and their development stemming from the unique fact of being a legal Jewish community living on Spanish territory is analysed. On the frontier with the Moslem world, reasons of State required religious tolerance over the purity of the faith. The Jews were tolerated because they were needed. Consequently, in their roles at Court, various members of the Jewish community of Oran defended their oath of loyalty and allegiance to the King over their religion, supported by the governors of the city, even as the pressures of the Inquisition and demands on the Crown to expel them increased.

10Beatriz Alonso Acero
Jews on the Frontier. Christian Suspicion of the Jewish Presence in Oran
The presence of a Jewish community in the Christian city of Oran between 1509 and 1669 makes it a particularly interesting group within the context of the Jews of the Maghreb as a whole in the late Middle Ages. Despite the importance of the offices and positions held by the Jews, who supported the continuation of Spanish rule in the enclave, the Christians continued to be suspicious of their presence in Oran. Their neighbours, the authorities and the Church were all hostile for two basic reasons: the growth of the Jewish community, which at the beginning of the 17th century was already close to three hundred people, and the lack of assimilation of this minority as a result of the limited integration of the Jews in mainland Spain prior to their expulsion in 1492. Analysis of both factors makes it possible to understand the growing tension under which the Jews continued to live in Oran –a tension which had the backing of the Crown itself, advised by the Councils of War and State.

11Bernard Vincent
Jews and Slavers in Oran
Until their expulsion in 1669, the Jewish families of Oran were at the heart of all economic and diplomatic activity. The slave trade was no exception. The Jews were both owners and middle-men. The complexity of their involvement clearly illustrates the ambiguity of their status and the relevance of their role within society locally.

12Eloy Martín Corrales
Trade on the Frontier, Maghreb Jews as Middle-Men in Spanish-North African Trading in the 16th and 17th Centuries.
The Maghreb Jews played a prominent role as middle-men in the trading (as well as in the political, diplomatic and even warring) relationships between Spain and the Maghreb. It was possible for them to play this role because there was no break in trading relations (except for temporary and partial embargoes by one side or the other) throughout the period of confrontation between both sides which occurred during the periods 1492-1509 and 1767-1791. Although the Jews were not the only ones involved in trade between Spain and the Maghreb (there were also Spaniards, Old Christians, Moriscos, French, English, Dutch, Genoese etc., as well as redeemers, slaves –Muslims in Spain and Christians in the Maghreb– and apostates), they had a prominent role in it. They operated from Moroccan, Algerian and Tunisian ports; from the strongholds occupied by the Spanish on the North African coast (Oran, Bugia, Larache, Melilla, Vélez and Ceuta), where they were granted authority to establish themselves after 1492, and where they remained throughout the 16th, 17th and even 18th centuries; from various European ports (Marseille, Livorno, Gibraltar, etc.); and, as a result of shorter or longer visits, from Spain itself.

13Yehoshua Frenkel
Hebrew and Arab Sources for Studying the History of the Jews of Morocco (16th-18th Centuries)
The Moroccan Arab and Hebrew sources of the 17th and 18th centuries give us a quite different perspective of their Jewish population to that which can be drawn from the European sources and documents of the time, This study has two objectives: on the one hand to show the contribution of the Arab and Hebrew sources towards understanding the Jewish communities of Morocco and, on the other hand, to evaluate and interpret the differences in the information provided by these sources compared to European sources, in particular with regard to the part played by the Jews as mediators between Europe and the ‘Alauī-Filalī kingdom.

14Leïla Maziane
Moroccan Jewish under the First ‘Alawī Sultans
From the 15th century onwards, Morocco opened up to powerful foreign colonies such as those of the heretics, the
moriscos, and the Jews who had been expelled from Spain. This type of emigration enabled it to establish connections abroad and to have preferential relationships in those markets which were of greatest interest to it. These relationships were mainly created by the Jewish community which, in spite of being a minority from a demographic point of view, formed a true society with its own culture, language and legal system. It was able to perform an important, even indispensable economic role for a long period of time.

© Casa de Velázquez, 2003

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