Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Popularizing Anti-Semitism in Early Modern Spain and Its Empire: Francisco De Torrejoncillo and the Centinela Contra Judios (1674)

Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Popularizing Anti-Semitism in Early Modern Spain and Its Empire: Francisco De Torrejoncillo and the Centinela Contra Judios (1674)

Article excerpt

Popularizing Anti-Semitism in Early Modem Spain and Its Empire: Francisco de Torrejoncillo and the Centinela contra Judios (1674). By François Soyer. [The Medieval and Early Modern World, Vol. 54.] (Leiden: Brill. 2014. Pp. xxv, 319. $135.00. ISBN 978-90-04-25047-5.)

François Soyer offers here the first academic study and English translation of the most widely read vernacular Iberian manifesto of antisemitism. Fray Francisco de Torrejoncillo's Centinela contra Judios, a relatively brief but comprehensive catalog of both religious and social hysteria about Jews, went through nine editions in Spanish between 1674 and 1736, plus a blatant plagiarism (p. 67), and four editions in Portuguese between 1684 and 1748. Soyer demonstrates its impressive dissemination among literate "Old-Christians," although it encountered some mixed responses after 1750 (pp. 61-63); and reading the Centinela even persuaded one Old-Christian priest in Galicia to become a Judaizer (p. 64). This enthusiastic defense of the Spanish Inquisition (by a Franciscan unaffiliated with it) also spread throughout Spain's American empire and was partially reprinted in Mexico in 1775 (pp. 65-66).

Soyer's densely annotated translation fills more than half of the book and incorporates two lengthy décima poems (pp. 146-50, 162-71; texts on 285-99). Torrejoncillo probably composed these himself, but attributed the first to an unnamed Judaizer sentenced ten years previously at a local auto da fe and the other to the founder of limpieza statutes. The author, who lived near the Portuguese border, also included firsthand knowledge of a few local Jewish atrocities (pp. 226n27,232n43, 255). …

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