By Hyam Maccoby
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Additional resources for Antisemitism and Modernity: Innovation and Continuity (Routledgecurzon Jewish Studies Series)
The Christians, recognizing this, eventually expelled from Spain all the Muslim ‘converts’ (known as ‘Moriscos’) in 1609. This was an essentially different expulsion from that of the Jews in 1492, when only non-converted Jews were expelled. The converted Jews, on the other hand, took their conversion seriously, and became practising Christians, if only (in many cases) as a form of emancipation and entry into the professions. Yet they remained under a cloud of suspicion. Many of them were dragged before the Inquisition on a charge of secretly continuing to practise Judaism, or at least minor Jewish customs.
The doctrine of blood-purity was reinforced by the great addition to the body of converts at the time of the Expulsion of 1492, when Jews were given the choice of expulsion or conversion. At this latter time, it is reckoned that about 100,000 Jews remained loyal to their ancestral religion and chose exile. About another 100,000 Jews bowed to the Christian ultimatum and accepted conversion. Here there is a significant difference between Jews and Muslims. The Muslims were not given the choice of expulsion or conversion, but all converted by force.
Churchmen, such as Isidore of Seville, who sought to re-introduce antiJewish legislation were ignored by noblemen who protected the Jews. There were short periods of persecution during the reigns of the fanatical Visigothic Catholic monarchs Sisebut and Chintila, but their deaths brought the persecution to an end. The successors of Charlemagne, Louis (814–40 CE) and Charles (840–77 CE), rulers over France and Germany, continued his policy of toleration and even favour towards the Jews, despite the efforts of the prelates Agobard and Amolo to have the anti-Jewish laws enforced.