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Picture of Iberian New Christians and Their Descendants

Iberian New Christians and Their Descendants

Editor(s): Jack Cohen, Abraham Gross, Adina Moryosef

Book Description

This ground-breaking volume explores the relatively new academic field of Bnei Anousim studies (also referred to as descendants of New Christians, Conversos, or Marranos), whose Jewish ancestors in Iberia were forcibly converted to Catholicism from 1391 through to the fifteenth century. Chronologically, this book focuses on the eighteenth century, a later period of Inquisition activity marked by the Portuguese Inquisition’s relentless attacks against the Jewish “heresy” and the resultant mass exodus of New Christians from Portugal to Brazil. Several chapters concern the contemporary phenomenon of descendants of these New Christians seeking their Jewish roots. However, among a population that has retained almost no memory of their origins, how authentic are their Jewish roots? After the passage of hundreds of years, how much of what they perceive as “Jewish” is truly a lost Sefardi heritage? This volume addresses these questions from the perspectives of history, demography, genealogy, anthropology, and genetics.


ISBN-13: 978-1-5275-3506-0
ISBN-10: 1-5275-3506-1
Date of Publication: 01/08/2019
Pages / Size: 191 / A5
Price: £58.99


Abraham Gross is Academic Chair of the Institute for Sefardi and Anousim Studies, and Professor Emeritus in the Jewish History Department of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel. He specializes in the history and culture of Sefardi Jewry and New Christians and their diasporas. His books include Rabbi Joseph Hayyun: Leader of the Lisbon Jewish Community and His Literary Work (1993) [Hebrew]; Iberian Jewry from Twilight to Dawn: The World of Rabbi Abraham Saba (1995); and Spirituality and Law: Courting Martyrdom in Christianity and Judaism (2005) [Hebrew].

Adina Moryosef holds an MA in Religious Studies from the University of California, Santa Barbara. She was Associate Director of Casa Shalom before joining the staff of the Institute for Sefardi and Anousim Studies in 2016.

Jack Cohen is a Board Member of the Institute for Sefardi and Anousim Studies and a pharmacologist who has held positions at Georgetown Medical School, USA, and Sheba Medical Center and Hebrew University, Israel. Aside from his scientific publications, he authored The Reawakening: The Re-emergence of Jews after 500 Years of Spanish-Portuguese Catholic Persecution (2017).