The Expulsion of the Jews from Spain
By Haim Beinart
Contributions by: Jeffrey M. Green
The Expulsion of the Jews from Spain is a detailed study of the events surrounding this infamous chapter in Spanish history. Based on hundreds of documents discovered, deciphered, and analysed during decades of intensive archival research, this work focuses on the practical consequences of the expulsion both for those expelled and those remaining behind. It responds to basic questions such as:What became of property owned by Jewish individuals and communities? What became of outstanding debts between Jews and Christians? How was the Edict of Expulsion implemented? What happened to those who converted to Christianity in order to remain in Spain or return to that country? The material summarized and analysed in this study also sheds light on Jewish life in Spain preceding the expulsion. For example, Jews are shown to have been present in remote villages where they were not hitherto known to have lived, and documents detailing lawsuits between Christians related to debts left behind by Jews reveal much about business and financial relations between Jews and Christians. By focusing on the expulsion of the Jews from Spain in such detail-for example, by naming the magistrates who presided over the confiscation of Jewish communal property-Professor Beinart takes history out of the realm of abstraction and places it in the realm of concrete reality, reminding us that events were driven by decisions made by real people, and that real people were affected by these events.
Publication Date: 6/30/2005