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Profs & Pints: Victims of the Spanish Inquisition
The Bier Baron Tavern
Washington, DC
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Profs & Pints: Victims of the Spanish Inquisition
Profs and Pints presents: Victims of the Spanish Inquisition, a look at how Jews were erased from the Iberian Peninsula, with Jeff Gorsky, lawyer, history instructor at American University, and author of Exiles in Sepharad: The Jewish Millennium in Spain.

In 1390 there were more Jews in Spain than all the rest of Europe combined, and they had power and wealth beyond anywhere else in Europe. By the end of the following century, they'd be completely removed and banned from the entire Iberian Peninsula. Come join Jeff Gorsky, a lawyer and scholar of history, for a look at how Jews came under attack and suffered during one of the most notorious campaigns of religious persecution ever staged in Europe, the Spanish Inquisition.

Mr. Gorsky will explain how the Spanish Jews' troubles began in 1391, when a rogue priest, Ferrand Martinez, sparked riots in major Spanish cities with the slogan convert or die. Mobs forced a third to a half of the Spanish Jews to convert to Catholicism, but the sincerity of their faith would be questioned. Over the following century these new Christians or conversos, would repeatedly find themselves targeted as scapegoats by opponents of unpopular kings with whom the conversos were aligned . "Old" Christians would engage in rioting aimed at the old ones, and the two sides would intermittently break out into open warfare.

Ferdinand and Isabella, bent on reestablishing political stability to Spain, launched the Inquisition in Seville in order to determine if the conversos were still practicing Judaism, considered heresy punishable by being burned at the stake. Led by the Dominican friar Tomas de Torquemada, the Inquisitors used extreme methods, such as secret witnesses and torture, and spread the Inquisition to every major Spanish city. They imprisoned thousands of conversos, confiscated estates, and burned a thousand or more people at the stake.

Arguing that the mere presence of a Jewish community undermined the conversos Christian faith, Torquemada lobbied for Spanish crown to issue a decree expelling the Jews from that nation. The crown complied in 1492, and by the end of that century Jews were gone from the Iberian Peninsula, and a millennium of Jewish life in Spain had come to an end. (Advance tickets: $12. Doors: $15, save $2 with a student ID. Listed time is for doors. Talk starts 30 minutes later. Please allow yourself time to place any orders and get seated and settled in.)


The Bier Baron Tavern (View)
1523 22nd St NW
Washington, DC 20037
United States


Education > Classes
Other > Political
Other > Spiritual

Minimum Age: 18
Kid Friendly: No
Dog Friendly: No
Non-Smoking: Yes!


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