Thousands of Jews forcibly converted to Christianity in Spain and Portugal were subjected to religious persecution for continuing to adhere to their ancestral faith. The Spanish and Portuguese Inquisitions lasted for centuries, and when their attention on Judaizers ended, they switched to other concerns including Protestantism, bigamy, witchcraft, and blasphemy. The Inquisition typically conjures up images of intolerance, persecution, and violence and rightly so. Many people think of it as a reflection of the spiritual, scholastic, and scientific darkness of the medieval period. Hundreds of thousands of trials were processed during its lengthy reign in Spain, Portugal, the New World, India, and the Philippines. Thousands died at its hand. It seems hard to believe that the Inquisition ended as recently as the third decade of the nineteenth century and then only with some reservations. This book provides an overview of this fascinating and horrifying institution.
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Juan Marcos Bejarano Gutierrez is a graduate of the University of Texas at Dallas where he earned a bachelor of science in electrical engineering. He works full time as an engineer but has devoted much of his time to Jewish studies. He studied at the Siegal College of Judaic Studies in Cleveland and received a Master of Arts Degree in Judaic Studies. He completed his doctoral studies at the Spertus Institute in Chicago in 2015. He studied at the American Seminary for Contemporary Judaism and received rabbinic ordination in 2011 from Yeshiva Mesilat Yesharim. Juan Marcos Bejarano Gutierrez was a board member of the Society for Crypto-Judaic Studies from 2011-2013. He has published various articles in HaLapid, The Journal for Spanish, Portuguese and Italian Crypto-Jews, and Apuntes-Theological Reflections from a Hispanic-Latino Context, and is the author of Secret Jews:The Complex Identity of Crypto-Jews and Crypto-Judaism What is Kosher? and What is Jewish Prayer? and Who is a Jew? He is currently the director of the B’nai Anusim Center for Education.