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What Does Martyrdom Lore Tell Us?

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Publication Date: January 2009

Publisher(s): Association for Jewish Studies; Association for Jewish Studies

Author(s): Miriam Bodian; Miriam Bodian

Series: AJS Perspectives: The Newsletter of the Association for Jewish Studies, Spring 2009, pp.26-28.

Special Collection: Berman Jewish Policy Archive

Topic: Culture and religion (Religion and religious groups)
Social conditions (History)

Keywords: History; Religion; Sephardic Jews; Judaic Studies

Type: Report


The author describes how Inquisition documents can serve to corroborate and/or contradict stories of crypto-Jewish martyrdom that circulated in the Portuguese-Jewish diaspora. She examines one particular story in order to illuminate the discussion. Besides confirming names and dates of martyrdoms referenced in crypto-Jewish lore, the author notes, Inquisition documents can also confirm that some crypto-Jewish martyrs posessed enough theological knowledge to acquit themselves well in theological debates with Inquisitors.