One of the century"s great classics of Jewish historiography, A History of the Jews in Christian Spain traces the economic, social, legal, and political life of the Spanish Jewish community from the eleventh-century re-conquest of Iberia from Muslim rule to the expulsion of 1492. The second volume of Professor Baer"s monumental work tells the tragic story of the dissolution of the great Spanish Jewish community. An unusual feature of the volume are the many and sometimes extensive quotations from medieval Jewish writings never before rendered into English. They provide an opportunity to savor the work of the mystics and rationalists, the poets and religious disputants of the era.
the Author -- A History of the Jews in Christian Spain. Vol. 2
Yitzhak Baer ---
Professor Yitzhak (Fritz) Baer spent many years researching in the Spanish archives. He published thousands of documents bearing on the details of Jewish life in the Iberian Peninsula and on the relationship of the Jews to their Christian rulers and neighbors. Later, after settling in what is now Israel as Professor of History at the Hebrew University, he wrote his summary of the period, which is now made available in translation from the Hebrew.
The general expulsion of the Jews from Spain was postponed from year to year, for reasons of both domestic and foreign policy. It was the politics of the Reconquista which had originally established the peculiar status of the Jews in the Christian states of the Iberian Peninsula. With the consummation of the great scheme of unifying all Spain under Christian rule, the political foundation of the Spanish Jewish community was undermined. In a stubborn war which, with intermissions, raged from 1481 to early in 1492, the Spaniards conquered the last remnants of the Moslem State on their soil. The Jews of the conquered Moslem cities met with a fate entirely different from that of their ancestors in the early stages of Reconquista. Approximately all the 400 Jews living in Malaga were treated like prisoners of war when it was taken by the Christians in 1487, and their ransom had to be raised by all the Jewish communities of Spain. Indeed, the capitulation treaties with the Moslems of Almeria (December, 1489) and of Granada (by the end of 1491) were modeled on the treaties of surrender of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries and their favorable provisions applied to the Jews as well, except for the concession (also borrowed from the twelfth-century treaties) that Jewish officers should not be placed in authority over Moslems. However, these treaties were of no practical value. The Judaized Christians, that is, the forced converts who had fled from Spain to Granada and there reverted to Judaism, were ordered by their conquerors to make up their minds within a short specified time to choose one of two alternatives: either to live completely Christian lives or to live the country. A proposal for the immediate expulsion of the Jews from the whole conquered area was entertained, but not adopted. It occurred to one that the Jews could be used as a friendly colonizing force, as in earlier periods. With the entry of the Catholic Monarchs into the city of Granada of January 2, 1492, the fate of Spanish Jewery was sealed in the conquered territory as well as throughout the realms of Aragon and Castile.
Adds a truly significant contribution to scholarship.
Regarded as the standard work on the subject...remarkable for its broad historical outlook, accuracy in detail, and scholarly synthesis.
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