A Jew­ish Renais­sance in Fif­teenth-Cen­tu­ry Spain

Mark D. Meyerson
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By – September 28, 2012

In July of 1391, thou­sands of Jews in Spain were forced to con­vert to Chris­tian­i­ty or die. The cen­tu­ry fol­low­ing this abrupt and mas­sive pogrom is typ­i­cal­ly under­stood as a long, steady decline until the final expul­sion from the Iber­ian Penin­su­la at the end of the 15th cen­tu­ry. Mark Mey­er­son has writ­ten an impec­ca­bly researched study of one cor­ner of Spain in which that descrip­tion of the 15th cen­tu­ry would be wild­ly inaccurate. 

Morve­dre (medieval Sagun­to), the sec­ond city of Renais­sance Valen­cia, is the cen­ter of this sto­ry, and through an exhaus­tive analy­sis of its his­to­ry, Mey­er­son con­structs a sub­tle under­stand­ing of Spain before the Expul­sion. He details not only the polit­i­cal rela­tion­ship between the kings and their” Jews, but even more inter­est­ing­ly, the com­plex rela­tion­ship between open Jews and the con­ver­sos of 1391

Mey­er­son is a clear adher­ent of the impor­tance of local his­to­ry over the gen­er­al. For stu­dents of the mas­ter nar­ra­tive of Sephardic his­to­ry,” this coun­ternar­ra­tive” will prove an impor­tant contribution.

Jeff Bogursky reads a lot, writes a lit­tle and talks quite a bit. He is a media exec­u­tive and expert in dig­i­tal media.

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