Converso Identities in Late Medieval Spain: Intermediacy and Indeterminacy

Converso Identities in Late Medieval Spain: Intermediacy and Indeterminacy

By Elizabeth Koza (State University of New York at New Paltz)

Paper given at the 48th International Congress on Medieval Studies in Kalamazoo (2013)

Abstract: In late medieval Spain, Christian leaders and missionaries developed conversion campaigns to bring Jews into Christianity. Some converts appear to have fully assimilated with their new religion. Those who did not effectively assimilate are known as conversos, members of a group whose beliefs and actions grew increasingly suspect. Historians disagree about conversos. Did conversos want to become Christian despite continued Jewish practices, or were they “secret Jews” who knowingly engaged in the practice of their former religion? Despite all of their disagreements, Yitzhak Baer, Benzion Netanyahu, and Anna Ysabel d’Abrera and other scholars make one thing clear: in thought and practice conversos had many options open to them. My research exploits the following premises: converso identity was complex; there was no single identity; converso identity was contested even among conversos. Following these foundations laid in the historiography, the research I conducted recognizes a difficult position of intermediacy and indeterminacy. Christians and Jews made sure that conversos suffered a “no win” situation. The devolution from New Christians, to conversos, to marranos (pigs), meant that generations of people were treated as neither fully Christian nor as fully Jewish. Moreover, the intermediate converso caste created a wedge between Jews and Christians which became the cause of increased animosities. My research helps show how the changing nature and increasing complexity of converso identities complicates the story that eventually leads to the purity of blood paranoia and Jewish expulsion from Spain in 1492.

Converso Identities in Late Medieval Spain: Intermediacy and Indeterminacy

From guarded royal property (tesoro nuestro in the words of one Aragonese king) to convenient scapegoat, Jews occupied an uneasy position in Iberian societies.[1]  The shifting nature of relations from the thirteenth to the fifteenth century continuously reaffirmed problems between Christians and Jews.  In late medieval Spain, Christians sought to correct the problem of Jews in their midst, seeing their influence on society as increasingly negative.  Jews became the target of conversion campaigns.  Thereafter, converts took on a new identity, arguably neither full Christian nor full Jew, recognized by the label converso. Conversos have received considerable scholarly attention, but only now is attention turning to the complications of converso identities.  To better understand the converso identities which formed as a result of these campaigns, it is important to examine the two centuries prior to the Jewish expulsion.  In what follows, I first reflect on the earlier historiography before shifting my focus to the devolution of the Iberian Jewry under Christianity.  I treat the devolution from a historiographical perspective in examining key events which may, in some way, allow for an understanding of converso identities.  I then discuss the complexity and variety of these identities, as conversos occupy an ambiguous area between Christianity and Judaism.


New conflicts plagued both Jewish and Christian communities with the onset of fourteenth century conversions.  Some converts appeared to assimilate fully into their new religion, while others — conversos — comprised a group whose beliefs and actions grew increasingly suspect.  This increase in conversions bolstered the converso population and further separated the two religious factions.  Due to their in-between nature, historians disagree about the identities of conversos.[2]  Did conversos want to become Christian despite continued Jewish practices?  Did New Christians lead a double life as secret Jews who knowingly engaged in the practice of their former religion?  It became wholly uncertain, and continuously contested, as to what place conversos occupied in society.  Despite disparate opinions about conversos, Yitzhak Baer, Benzion Netanyahu, Anna Ysabel d’Abrera, and other scholars make one thing clear: in thought and practice, conversos could choose from a multitude of options that became available to them.  My research exploits the following premises: the complexity of converso identity; conversos did not possess a single, uniform identity; and even conversos contested the nature of their identity.  Moreover, conversos suffered from internal identity struggles and it becomes increasingly clear that conversos occupied a difficult position of intermediacy and indeterminacy.  Conversos found themselves in a complicated predicament as Christians and Jews forced them into a “no win” situation.  The devolution from New Christians, to conversos, and finally marranos (pigs), meant that generations of people were considered as neither fully Christian nor as fully Jewish.  The intermediate converso caste created a further wedge between Jews and Christians, thereby leading to increased animosities.  The mercurial, complex nature of converso identities further complicates a story ending in paranoid campaigns of limpieza de sangre and the ultimate Jewish expulsion from Spain in 1492.

It remains unclear why Christian animosity towards Jews increased when it did.  The conversion campaigns of the thirteenth century afforded an opportunity to create an ideal Christian society.  These conversions — whether forced or sincere — contributed to the emergence of a third religious group: conversos.  The in-between nature of this group placed conversos on a focal point along the Catholic-Jewish spectrum as they forged not one, but multiple, conglomerate identities from both religions.  My assertion is twofold: that the historiographical literature detailing Christian-Jewish relations prior to the Jewish expulsion does not adequately understand the converso population and its aggregate identity, nor its importance to the aforementioned relations; and that the contribution by conversos to the developing intermediacy of religion, culture, and politics becomes central to understanding the increased divisiveness that led to the expulsion of Jews — but not conversos — thereby distinguishing the notion of “Old Christians” and those who possess a Jewish heritage.  Thus, Christians and Jews neither accepted nor trusted this precariously placed wedge group.


After the onset of mass conversions, it seems increasingly clear that Jewish efforts to proselytize Jews failed, along with efforts to guide converts in their newly adopted faith.  Both failed policy and indoctrination, which becomes increasingly evident in the plight of conversos, contributed to widespread social problems characterized by increasing tensions.  In treating the period from 1263 to 1492, the impact of conversos on Christian-Jewish relations, as well as the fragmentation and complexity of converso identities, is more readily understood.  The identity struggles which conversos faced, not interreligious relations per se, served as the fuel that ignited the fires of inquisition and expulsion.

From the thirteenth to fifteenth centuries, an influx of events occurred which most scholars consider as important to the history of Christian-Jewish relations including the Barcelona Disputations of 1263, The Black Death, The Jewish Massacre of 1391, Toledo Anti-Converso Riots, The Spanish Inquisition, and the Edict of Expulsion.  The main arguments in the historiography frame themselves in terms of Christian-Jewish relations, but I want to rearrange the order of these incidents to emphasize conversos.  By isolating the first, fourth, and fifth of the aforementioned events, the changing nature of relations becomes increasingly clear, as does the complexity of converso identities.

Iberian Jewry suffered from a tumultuous existence which became increasingly precarious during the mid fourteenth century.  The plague ravaged Christian society, which found some comfort in blaming Jews for the widespread destruction of life, and the Jews continued to play their role as convenient scapegoat.  Christians said, for example, that Jews poisoned wells which effectively caused the deaths.  However, medieval Christians did not concern themselves with the fact (or failed to take notice) that Jews died in equal proportion.  David Nirenberg identifies six sins which Christian religious theorists believed would bring the wrath of God upon Christian society in the form of plague, famine, and war.[3]  In order to defend themselves against such sin, one remedy (prescribed by Christians) constituted a cessation in contact with other religions, and to effectively “segregate Jews and Muslims, and have nothing to do with them.”[4]  This profound desire to prevent further complications — such as a resurgence of the plague — or loss from acts of sin identifies the complicated nature of how to make segregation a reality.

As a result of mounting discontent with Judaism, some conversions occurred at this time, for Jews desired to escape the wrath of devastated Christians.  While segregation existed as a logical first step for the avoidance of sin, medieval Christian society soon utilized more drastic measures including the elimination of other religions by way of attacks on religious communities, legal methods, and conversion.


The movement towards segregation did not prove effective in the eyes of Christians, as they continued to accuse Jews of violating social boundaries.  In their attacks against Jewish communities, Christians confirmed both their majority status and the exclusivity of their own social construction.  Some of the most prominent examples of attacks against Jewish communities in the fourteenth century include: the Shepherd’s Crusade, attacks upon Jewish calls[5] in Barcelona, Girona, and elsewhere; and the massacre of 1391.  These various events culminated in the Spanish Inquisition, which acted as a precursor to the Edict of Expulsion in 1492, and effectively ended the existence of Jewish communities in the kingdoms of Ferdinand and Isabella.  The ultimatum for Jews, conversion or exile, directly contributed to an influx in the number of insincere conversions, as well as caused continuous problems in maintaining Catholic orthodoxy during the post expulsion period.

When regarded in a different way, three specific events significantly alter the story of Jewish expulsion. First, it is important to consider the Disputation of 1263.  The disputation itself is not really as seminal in contrast to the conversion process of which it is a part. Rather, it is an example of a process begun in preceding decades to convert Jews to Christianity as a result of mounting discontent with Judaism.  Dominican friars — the leading scholars of their time — organized this particular disputation in which they brought Jews together to prove the fallacy of their religion and convince them to convert.   Pablo Christiani, a convert, led the Disputation and argued for the deceptive nature of the Talmud and that it instead recognized truths of Christianity. [6]  The outcome of the Disputation resulted in some conversions during this period.  More importantly, however, by about the 1290s, even Dominicans recognized the limited success of their conversion campaigns.  Some, but not all, Jews converted.  Robert Chazan emphasizes a strong divide — or schism — between Christianity and Judaism, as well as the new stance against the Aragonese Jewry in an attempt to not only eliminate their religion, but convert them to Christianity.[7] The shifting nature of relations during this period, paired with the attempts at conversion, does well to highlight the emergence of new interreligious conflicts.  These New Christians did not seem entirely convinced of their new religion nor its practices.  Increased attempts at conversion, accompanied by skepticism on the behalf of Jews, began to disrupt the fold of Christian society.

By 1449 — that is, just before the fiercest inquisitorial attention and a half century before the expulsion order — there is evidence of anti-converso rioting in Toledo.  This event offers the first clear evidence that conversos, but not Jews, disrupted the socio-religious order.  Moreover, it delineates the transformation of conversos from assimilated New Christians to a troubling (and troublesome) social group. It is unclear what constituted the identity of this newly developed religious group, for it is not possible to consider them entirely Catholic or entirely Jewish; rather, conversos fell in-between the confines of the two religions.  Despite attempts at assimilation, any degree of commitment to Judaism affected, and weakened, the societal position of conversos.


At this time, too, there is evidence of the first limpieza de sangre statutes which sought to prevent conversos from holding any political position.[8]   Old Christians feared the influence of their new religious brethren due to their past Jewish heritage even with their commitment to their new faith, a commitment which became increasingly contested. Christians and Jews alike did not understand nor accept this newly formed social group, and the latter half of the fifteenth century saw an influx in legal proceedings intended to correct ‘the converso problem’.

The legal process of Inquisition sought to find heretics and apostates, and either correct them or remove them from the Church, and as such, the Spanish Inquisition did not — and could not — target Jews.  The Inquisition functioned as a process internal to Christianity, not about Christians and others.  While the Inquisition did not conspire against Jews, it did investigate Jewish converts to Catholicism accused of apostasy, or Judaizing.  Beginning in 1480, Ferdinand and Isabella utilized the Inquisition to maintain Catholic orthodoxy in their new composite kingdom, and did so by determining the sincerity of conversos in the fold of Christian society.  Ideally, the Inquisition intended to stigmatize New Christians and eliminate Judaizers.

The problematic religious practices of conversos strengthened the efforts of the Inquisition in the late fifteenth century.  Inquisitors brought Eulàlia (last name illegible in the manuscript) of Barcelona to their court due to her lineage — which proved she came from Jewish descent — and a suspected adherence to Judaism.  As such, inquisitorial courts eventually found Eulàlia guilty of Judaizing. [9]  Another example is the inquisitorial trials of Inés López in both 1495 and 1511.[10]  The courts not only tried Inés for heresy, but her family members as well, and they found all of the defendants guilty of Judaizing.  The confessions of Inés at both trials reference her strict observance to Jewish customs including: Jewish fasting, the eating of unleavened bread, and funeral customs like cleansing the body of her father before burial.  In 1496, an Auto de fé assisted in her reconciliation with Christian society.  However, she still continued engaging in Jewish religious practice until 1511 when she was, again, subjected to accusations regarding heretical behaviors.  In July of 1512, inquisitors judged her guilty of apostasy and turned her over to the secular arm for execution.  The Inquisition succeeded in its attempts to identify heresy and apostasy among conversos, but not necessarily correct or eliminate its practice.

There is a direct relationship between the identities of conversos, which continuously change from 1263 to 1492, and the concomitant hostilities at the hands of a society consumed by religion.  The results of my research may, in some way, contribute to understanding this problem of assigning conversos to a particular identity or religion.  The overlap of the converso middle group between Christianity and Judaism expresses how they did not just belong to one religion, but rather existed as a part of both religions.[11]  The gap between these two religions is murky, and it is wholly uncertain as to where the conversos that occupy this ambiguous area belong.[12]


Despite discrepancies in opinion about converso identities, historians unanimously agree that, as d’Abrera suggests, conversos suffered from intense bouts of persecution on social, religious, and political platforms.[13]  But, to my understanding, conversos — because of their intermediacy and indeterminacy — were both enticed by and persecuted by both Jews and Christians.   Moreover, we should recognize conversos not as a single social group, but as dynamic and multifaceted.  There were both many varieties of converso experiences and many converso identities.

A uniform converso identity did not exist as various levels of commitment to Christianity constituted a multitude of identities among this population.  These various identities, and associated experiences, existed along a spectrum that ranges from devout Christians and sincere converts to devout Jews and insincere converts.  Thus, some examples of converso identities include: followers of Christian faith and Jewish culture; converts publicly perceived as Christian, but privately as Jews; converts publicly perceived as Jewish despite attempts to acculturate; and Crypto-Jews or Christian converts who practiced Judaism.[14]  Those who sincerely converted, and were considered as devout Christians, did not initially pose problems for Christian society.  On the other hand, those who did not fully convert or remained connected with their Jewish heritage were often considered to be Judaizing and straying from their new religion, with these heretical behaviors pertaining to the continued practice of the Jewish rituals including, for example, avoiding work during Shabbat or diet regulations like cutting excess fat from meat.

Although these actions appeared as wholly Jewish in practice, they were not necessarily so.  In some instances it appears that those accused of Judaizing merely followed longstanding family traditions that they did not strongly connect to religious practice.  For others, however, participation in Jewish prayer and adherence to sacred texts indicate willful and secret continuation of Jewish practice. The reality of these practices, however, grew increasingly irrelevant as conversos continuously adhered to Judaism.  The plethora of ways in which conversos adapted to their new faith made it difficult for mainstream society to classify this multi-faceted group, and correct the problems presented by their diversified religious practices.

Attempts at conversion, met by failed policy and indoctrination, led to the development of a new societal atmosphere that exhibited less tolerant behavior against not only Jews, but conversos as well, as the plethora of converso identities made it possible for this group to practice Judaism, Christianity, or a combination of both religions.  While many conversos adhered to the Christian faith, longstanding familial (and sometimes Jewish) traditions hindered their ability to fully devote themselves to its practice.  Old Christians understood that conversos still held residual Jewish practices, thereby preventing a full commitment to Christianity.  The Jewish ancestral heritage of conversos tainted their blood to the extent that baptism may not eliminate these impurities. The ‘corruption’ that plagued Jews could not disappear through any Christian methods of conversion, which therefore expressed the notion (about conversos) that once a Jew, always a Jew.[15]  Christians grew increasingly paranoid about conversos in the late fifteenth century with uncertainties about their religious affiliation and sincerity. As such, Christian society sought to correct — and thereby eliminate — the problems that this group presented.   The notion of New Christians as false followers gained momentum with the question of blood purity, or rather impurity, due to their Jewish heritage.  Moreover, it is clear that the disintegration of Judaism in Castile and Aragón occurred simultaneously to that of conversos, but some earlier historians do not identify the pivotal role of conversos in this process.  The skepticism and paranoia which surrounded conversos created a link between them and the Jews as outsiders, despite the clear distinctions between these two precariously placed groups.

The complications that arose with the converso identity crises posed a new problem for the Iberian Jewry.  Christians readily began to associate conversos with Jews, and as such, they perceived Jews as detrimental to Catholicism, as well as its practice, and that Jewish existence resulted in danger to the sanctity of the Holy Catholic faith.[16] Moreover, this expresses the desire to eliminate Judaism through conversion.  These attempts at conversion, however, failed.  Some conversos violated the sanctity of Catholicism by their continued adherence to Jewish cultural (but not necessarily religious) traditions.  Apart from these Judaizing apostates, former co-religionist families made attempts to proselytize converts, and return them to Judaism.  Both proselytizing and continued Jewish practice tainted the potential for an ideal Christian Spain. The quest to maintain Catholic Orthodoxy became increasingly clear with the Inquisition, and later, the expulsion.

In attempting to reestablish Catholic Orthodoxy, the question presents itself of whether the Jews should remain as the scapegoat for the destruction of the ideal Christian society, or if the evidence should be re-examined to determine the true source of the animosities.  The Dominican Order and their thirteenth-century conversion campaign following the Barcelona Disputation directly contributed to the birth of a widespread belief in society that religious minorities could, and should, cease to exist through conversion.[17]  Christian desires to eliminate both Judaism and Islam as religious practice in the Iberian Peninsula sparked the later fifteenth century problems of contested religious devotion and the crisis of identity faced by conversos.[18]  Christians initiated conversion procedures, which eventually led to converso related complications, and as such they should not displace the blame in its entirety onto the Jews. Both religious factions contributed to the development of this converso population.  However, due to the prevalence of the Christian religion in Spain during this period, Christians would not — and could not — take the responsibility for the ‘converso problem’.

The position of Jews in society continued to weaken and as such, conversions became increasingly appealing.  Jews did not necessarily convert due to Pablo Christiani’s assertion that conversion would correct their longstanding religious beliefs.  This potential for conversion to Christianity, however, did afford Jews an opportunity to drastically alter their place in Christian society.  Jews who converted were not necessarily aware of what Christianity entailed; they embarked on the journey to improve their livelihood.  No precursor existed to conversion practices which thrust Jews into the Christian fold through baptismal proceedings.  Despite the eagerness of Dominican Friars and others to convert Jews, they did not educate nor provide conversos with the knowledge of how to follow Christianity or assimilate with their new brethren.  If conversos lacked this knowledge, how might the conversion of Jews benefit the sanctity, preservation, and growth of Christian society?  This absence of converso awareness of what entailed becoming a follower of Christianity may indicate that while some willingly converted, most conversions occurred out of necessity. Conversions, in essence, forced Jews to follow the beliefs of Christianity.[19]  Could Jews continue to function under Christendom without suffering from increasing animosities and contention?  In an effort to preserve their livelihood, many Jews attempted conversion and tried to become assimilated New Christians, but instead became labeled as conversos with increasing Christian animosities.  Both Jews and conversos occupied an uneasy place in the dynamics of Christian society due to the suspected adherence of conversos to Judaism through proselytizing and co-religionist efforts.

The seemingly necessary act of conversion affords the question of sincerity of conversos.  Even with the contested sincerity of conversos, and the problems which arose with their multitude of identities, conversions still continued to occur during the Inquisition and even after the expulsion.  Successful conversions required sincerity, and those who lacked it, directly contributed to the birth of the converso population as well as the concomitant issues that their multifaceted identities held for society.  The troubled identities of conversos may indicate the true cause behind the expulsion for conversos remained stagnant in the space between two religions. The thirteenth century dream of successful conversion and the hope for the prosperity of Christian society died in the late fifteenth century with increasing cases of suspected religious insincerity, heresy, and apostasy among conversos.  These examples indicate that the prolonged period of conversion suffered more failures than successes, and seemingly ended with the expulsion of the Iberian Jewry.[20]  It remains unclear if Ferdinand and Isabella expelled the Jews due to their religious practice and suspected Judaizing tendencies or the issues that arose with proselytizing by both Christians and former co-religionist families.

*            *            *

While it seems that the issues brought about by both conversion and the emergence of converso identities ended with the exile of the Iberian Jewry in 1492, the problems of conversion continuously manifested themselves in the early modern period.  The decree issued by Ferdinand and Isabella afforded Jews a final opportunity to convert to Christianity as an alternative to expulsion.  However, conversions which occurred during the period of exile most certainly occurred out of necessity, and perhaps lacked sincere intentions.  The question of sincerity culminated with the Inquisition, a process which carried over to the post expulsion period in an effort to weed out Judaizing apostates and their suspected co-religionists.  As such, many countries would not accommodate Jews, and the expansion of the Spanish Empire presented an opportunity for Jews to seek refuge in the new world.

Interactions amongst Jews, conversos, and indigenous peoples — similar to concepts of convivencia (living together) — undoubtedly invited complications in the development of societal framework of the Spanish empire.[21]  Since the completion of my initial research venture, I became increasingly interested in the effects of conversion on society and to what extent, as well as how, it occurred in the developing Spanish empire.  It is my intent to examine the effects of the Inquisition in the empire, as well as if attempts at conversion continued in the early modern period.  Spaniards who sought to colonize needed to first combat the indigenous communities of the Americas, as well as the Jews who seized the opportunity for a new life.  My interests lie in discovering whether these indigenous peoples, as well as Jews, converted to Christianity, and if the troubled converso experiences of Spain manifested themselves in the new empire.  Moreover, I am especially curious as to whether converso communities — perhaps similar to Jewish calls intended for segregation purposes — developed in conjunction with these conversion efforts.  The underlying problems of disparate identities plague all societies, and affect it in such a way that the shifting dynamics require resolution, but no absolute methodology exists to correct the differences between souls in dispute.



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End Notes

[1] Yom Tov Assis, “Responsa Rabínicos y Cartas Reales: fuentes para el estudio de la historia de los judíos en la Corona de Aragón,” Espacio, Tiempo, y Forma Serie III Historia Medieval,  Nº 6 (1993): 373.

[2] Some Jewish historians sought to show that conversos converted against their will, never fully converted, and retained their Jewish identities.  Some Catholic historians of Inquisitions assert the veracity of the conversions, but that the Jewish communities from which conversos came put pressure on them to become Judaizing apostates.  The differences in perception of converso livelihood, however, did not alter the classification of religious groups by earlier historians.  They continuously asserted the presence of three groups: Christians, Jews, and conversos.  While these historians recognized the precarious, in between nature of conversos, the historiography did not yet hold the necessary developments to understand the inner fragmentation of conversos and the possibilities posed by ambiguous evidence.

[3] David Nirenberg, “Conversion, Sex, and Segregation: Jews and Christians in Medieval Spain,” American Historical Review 107, Nº 4 (2002): 1069.

[4] Ibid., 1070.

[5] In the context of the medieval period, calls existed within the boundaries of the city and were intended for inhabitance by non-Christians, in this case, Jews.  These sections, although intended for segregation, were still very much integrated with society and as such do not necessarily bear resemblance to twentieth century ghettos.  For example, the Jewish call in Barcelona existed in close proximity to the Cathedral.

[6] I refer to Pablo Christiani as a convert, but not a converso, despite his conversion to Christianity.  His ancestral Jewish heritage, which in the fifteenth century would seemingly subject him to the Inquisition, did not seem as relevant in the thirteenth century.  It is my belief that, perhaps, since he willingly chose to convert and advocated for conversion of his former co-religionists, he did not (and could not) exist as part of the converso population.  At this time, too, there is not yet strong evidence of conversions disrupting Christian society.

[7] Robert Chazan, Barcelona and Beyond: The Disputation of 1263 and Its Aftermath (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1992), 5.

[8] In addition to these statutes directed against conversos and those with a Jewish heritage, the Jewish population suffered from other preventative measures.  Conversos, much like the Jews, went from holding a relatively secure place in society — such as when the Jews aided the economy by acting as moneylenders — to becoming wholly un-trusted individuals.  The skepticism that surrounded the converso population as well as their suspected co-religionists may offer an explanation for the changing perception of the Jewry in the later medieval period.  For more on the changing perception of  Jews, see Paulino Rodríguez Barral’s La imagen del judío en la España medieval: el conflicto entre cristianismo y judaísmo en las artes visuales góticas and  Francisco Márquez Villanueva’s Jewish ‘Fools’ of the Spanish Fifteenth Century.

[9] ACA, Diversos, Inquisición, Volúmenes, núm.1, Eulàlia muller de Benet de Ferreres, corredor de Barcelona (1496).

[10] Henry Kamen, The Spanish Inquisition: An Historical Revision (Yale University Press, 1999), 263.  See also ed. Olivia Remie Constable, Medieval Iberia: Readings from Muslim, Christian, and Jewish Sources (University of Pennsylvania Press, 1997), 332-37.

[11] In my presentation of this material, I utilized a Venn diagram to demonstrate the nature of interfaith relations and express the precarious in-between position of conversos.  By utilizing this diagram, it expressed that the overlap between Christianity and Judaism resulted in this new group, conversos, due to both their ancestral past and newfound religion.

[12] For more on the uncertainty of converso identities, see Gretchen Starr Lebeau, In the Shadows of the Virgin: Inquisitors, Friars, and Conversos in Guadalupe, Spain. Jews, Christians, and Muslims from the Ancient to the Modern World (Princeton University Press, 2003).

[13] For further information about these various forms of persecution, see Anna Ysabel D’Abrera, The Tribunal of Zaragoza and Crypto-Judaism (Turnhout: Brepols Publishers, 2008).

[14] Crypto-Judaism, as D’Abrera more deeply discusses in The Tribunal of Zaragoza and Crypto-Judaism, is one of the identities with which conversos associate.  Those whom adopted this identity did not follow Christianity sincerely, if at all, and as such continued to adhere to Judaism while shielded by the false guise of a Christian convert.  This guise, however, would not withstand the Inquisition and the problems it sought to correct.

[15] For more information on blood impurity, Jewish ancestral heritage, and the concomitant implications for conversos in both the later medieval and early modern period, see David Graizbord, Souls in Dispute: Converso Identities in Iberia and the Jewish Diaspora, 1580-1700. Jewish Culture and Contexts (University of Philadelphia Press, 2004).  See also Bruce Rosenstock,  Conversos, Christian Theology, and Society in Fifteenth-Century Castile (London: Department of Hispanic Studies at Queen Mary University of London, 2002).

[16] For further information about the longstanding Christian discontent with Judaism, see Phyllis Goldstein, A Convenient Hatred: The History of Anti-Semitism (Brookline: Facing History and Ourselves National Foundation, 2012).

[17] Michael Vargas, Taming a Brood of Vipers: Conflict and Change in Fourteenth-Century Dominican Convents (Leiden: Brill, 2011), 284.

[18] For further reading on the expulsion of Muslims from the Iberian peninsula, as well as the similarities to the history of the Jews in Iberia, see James Amelang, Historias paralelas: Judeoconversos y moriscos en la España moderna (Madrid: Ediciones Akal, 2011).

[19] Anna Sapir Abulafia, Christian Jewish Relations 1000-1300: Jews in the Service of Medieval Christendom (Harlow: Pearson Education Limited, 2011), 28.

[20] Michael Vargas, Taming a Brood of Vipers: Conflict and Change in Fourteenth-Century Dominican Convents (Leiden: Brill, 2011),  285.

[21] For further reading on convivencia as a social construct, see David Nirenberg, Communities of Violence: Persecution of Minorities in the Middle Ages (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1996).  Nirenberg, however, discusses this concept of living together in not only the idealized way as it occurred under Islam, but under Christianity as well, which especially invited violence during the period of the ‘Reconquista’.  The methodology of convivencia becomes increasingly different under Christianity as opposed to Islam, and may suggest the development of hatred as a social construct in the later medieval period.  To that effect, reading may be done on this concept of social hatred by reviewing Daniel Lord Smail, “Hatred as a Social Institution in Late-Medieval Society,” Speculum 76.1 (2001): 90-126.