A 60-Page Record of the Portuguese Inquisition Goes Online https://mosaicmagazine.com/picks/history-ideas/2022/07/a-60-page-record-of-the-portuguese-inquisition-goes-online/

July 7, 2022 | Michael Horovitz
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When Spain expelled its Jews in 1492, thousands of them found refuge in Portugal. But only five years later, King Manuel I presented them, and their Muslim compatriots, with a choice: either be baptized or leave the country. Many Jews accepted Catholicism, but they and their descendants would live under suspicion of secretly adhering to their ancestral faith and practices, attracting the attention of the inquisition. Michael Horovitz explains how a document, recently made available by the National Library of Israel, sheds light on their experience:

The library’s Central Archives for the History of the Jewish People on Wednesday publicized the 60-page document written in Portuguese, which mainly recounts public hearings and executions taking place between 1540 and 1669, most of them in Lisbon called autos-da-fé, which were carried out by the Catholic Church. The manuscript was found in the library’s archives.

The victims detailed in the documents were mostly then-recently converted Christians accused of maintaining their Jewish customs, but also included “Old Christians” found guilty of committing acts of “sodomy, bigamy, possession of forbidden books, and sacrilege,” the library’s statement said.

The [Portuguese] inquisition began in 1536, as a response to a surge of forcibly converted Jews crossing into the country from neighboring Spain, where they were fleeing similar atrocities. The hearings and executions carried on for more than two centuries and were considered acts of penance for the accused. The public spectacles brought large crowds who came to watch the brutal executions carried out, which included so-called sinners being burned alive by the authorities.

The manuscript goes into specific detail about the autos-da-fé, including victim counts, dates, locations, and even the names of the priests who spoke at the public spectacles. The rituals were finally officially abolished in 1821.

Read more on Times of Israel: https://www.timesofisrael.com/national-library-finds-rare-18th-century-text-detailing-portuguese-inquisition