The Expulsion of the Jews from Spain
Littman Library of Jewish Civilization
The Expulsion of the Jews from Spain is a detailed study of the events surrounding this infamous chapter in Spanish history. Based on hundreds of documents discovered, deciphered, and analyzed during decades of intensive archival research, this work focuses on the practical consequences of the expulsion both for those expelled and those remaining behind. It responds to basic questions such as: What became of property owned by Jewish individuals and communities? What became of outstanding debts between Jews and Christians? How was the edict of expulsion implemented? Who was in charge? How did they operate? What happened to those who converted to Christianity in order to remain in Spain or return to that country? The material summarized and analyzed in this study also sheds light on Jewish life in Spain preceding the expulsion. For example, Jews are shown to have been present in remote villages where they were not hitherto known to have lived, and documents detailing lawsuits between Christians related to debts left behind by Jews reveal much about business and financial relations between Jews and Christians. By focusing on the expulsion of the Jews from Spain in such detail - for example, by naming the magistrates who presided over the confiscation of Jewish communal property - Professor Beinart takes history out of the realm of abstraction and gives it concrete reality.
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What Reviewers Are Saying
Review for the Hebrew Edition of the book:`The importance of this new book lies in its methodical and detailed portrayal of the expulsion from Spain in 1492 in all its aspects-political, social, economic, legal, and also human. It presents wide-ranging descriptions of the problems and the dilemmas facing families and individuals in both large and small communities . . . and of how events actually unfolded, day by day and hour by hour. The thoroughness of the presentation, documented in every detail, is the product of decades of methodical and comprehensive historiographic research covering all the areas in which Jews lived in the entire period over which the expulsion took place . . . Beinart's historiographic reconstruction gives the contemporary reader a palpable understanding of what actually happened.' Ben-Ami Feingold, Yediot Aharonot `An in-depth analysis of one of the most dramatic events in the history of the Jews . . . an extremely useful repository of detailed information that can be found nowhere else in English.' Yvonne Petry, Renaissance Studies `The most comprehensive study of the expulsion of the Jews from Spain in 1492. It summarizes and synthesizes the author's decades-long work in Spanish archives . . . indispensable for the study of Spanish Jewry and is a valuable addition to any university library.' Morris M. Faierstein, Religious Studies Review `Haim Beinart justifiably has been hailed as the foremost historian of medieval Sepharad . . . the data uncovered [here] will remain a source for many future generations of historians of the Jews of medieval Iberia. For that alone, we are indebted to this monumental contribution.'
Benjamin R. Gampel, AJS Review `Magisterial . . . provides insights, descriptions, and interpretations built on an impregnable base of scholarship . . This sine qua non for any study and understanding of the vents leading up to 1492 deserves an honoured place in all serious libraries.' Stephen D. Benin, Choice