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Re^5: A Level Playing Field

by jZed (Prior)
on Nov 01, 2005 at 18:48 UTC ( #504692=note: print w/ replies, xml ) Need Help??


in reply to Re^4: A Level Playing Field
in thread A Level Playing Field

My sources? How about knowing Sephardic Jews (those forced into exile from Spain and Portugal), having visited synagogues in Portugal and Spain that had been converted to churches. How about reading virtually any history book. If you want links, try the first two on google: 1, 2


Comment on Re^5: A Level Playing Field
Re^6: A Level Playing Field
by Tanktalus (Canon) on Nov 01, 2005 at 19:12 UTC

    Have you ever played a game of telephone? I doubt you know Jews that were forced into exile - but perhaps their descendants. Who have been coloured by the same myths about their ancestry as the rest of us.

    There's no doubt that the Inquisition did some nasty things. And that anti-Semitism was rampant throughout the middle ages (which later developed into letting the Nazi Holocaust to be permitted in Germany). And that the two got intermingled. However, you're judging the Inquisition based on today's standards. It's like saying that the middle ages was slow because it took days to get from city to city when we can travel around the world in 36 hours. You need to take things in context - the inquisition was still the most enlightened court system in Europe at the time

    And I take your history book challenge. Now take mine.

    (PS - Wikipedia is written by amateurs, so I'm not going to take its word seriously since those who are convinced by the myths of the inquisition will consistantly and constantly edit out modern historical data in much the same way I'm consistantly and constantly downvoted for speaking the truth against such a popular myth.)

Re^6: A Level Playing Field
by tilly (Archbishop) on Nov 02, 2005 at 07:48 UTC
    A historical correction for you. The Inquisition did not exile the Jews from Spain. The Spanish government did so. But admittedly they did this at the request of the Inquisition, though it may well be that they would have done so regardless.

    I believe that the Jewish expulsion from Portugal was similar.

    Note that a major factor behind various Jewish expulsions in the late 1400s was Italian moneylenders. The Biblical prohibition against usery was understood by the Jews to prohibit Jews lending at interest to Jews, but Jews could lend to gentiles. Christians could not so lend, which meant that Christians couldn't get rid of Jews because they needed to borrow money from them. But in the 1400s the fluid state of Italian currencies allowed Christian moneylenders to operate - they didn't charge interest, they just lent in one currency and accepted payment in another. It was a "gamble" because the currency could move and the lender could lose money. However the house odds were...pretty good.

    For a long time I was curious what happened to the historically important ban on usery which is so obviously ignored today. The answer turned out to be that Martin Luther thought that it was one of many prohibitions in the Old Testament that didn't apply to Christians. In the Counter-Reformation the Catholic Church agreed (in part because they didn't want to leave Protestant countries with such a large economic advantage).

      Tilly, thank you so much for giving a level-headed reply to this nonsense. I was evidently too emotional to do so. The only things I would add to your summary are that a) the exact number of deaths and the exact extent of torture is pretty irrelevant to the climate of fear that the inquisition created. If the government and church announce that they are setting up tribunals to find heretics and kill even one person a year, people who are born into heresy (by being Jews or Muslims or women of any ethnicity) are going to live in fear. If you then start confiscating their property, burning effigies, etc. that fear will increase regardless of the relative cruelty of the tribunals. b) The excuse "that's how people thought back then" does not apply since there had been some six hundred years of mutual Jewish-Muslim-Christian tolerance in Spain prior to the inquisition.

      Personally, I don't really care if there is a PM level named "Grand Inquisitor", it just makes me think of Mel Brooks' "History of the World". It's different though when someone seriously claims they would be proud to be an Inquisitor. Sheesh, well, the job is still open, though these days you only get to persecute Muslims. Apply at the Department of Homeland Security.

        the exact number of deaths and the exact extent of torture is pretty irrelevant to the climate of fear that the inquisition created. If the government and church announce that they are setting up tribunals to find heretics and kill even one person a year, people who are born into heresy (by being Jews or Muslims or women of any ethnicity) are going to live in fear.
        A clarification: the Inquisition had no authority over non-Christians. A purpose of the Expulsion was to ensure that every Jew remaining in Spain was in fact baptized and subject to the Inquisition thereafter. I've heard that how the Expulsion was implemented varied from area to area and case to case: Some were able to leave with property or money, some weren't. Some were not allowed to leave at all, but given the choice of conversion or death. Some were forcibly baptized with no such choice. Some were allowed to leave, but not with their children :(

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