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Jewish Studies: Sephardic Jewry, Anusim, Conversos, Crypto-Jews

Guide to Library research and resources in Jewish Studies



Anusim: a Hebrew word meaning "the coerced". The term refers to Jews who were forcibly converted and their descendants.

Cristão-Novo: meaning "New-Christian" a term used extensively in Portuguese historiography

Conversos: a term meaning 'the converted.'

Crypto: refers to anything secret or hidden. The phrase "Crypto Jews" was used to describe Jews or people descended from converted Jews who continued to practice Judaism in secret.

Marranos: an offensive term meaning "pigs." It was used in Spain and Portugal to refer to people descended from converted Jews who were suspected of still practicing Judaism.

Meshumadim: a Hebrew term referring to willing converts from Judaism.


Background Reading on Conversos and Crypto-Judaism

Alpert, Michael. Cryptojudaism and the Spanish Inquisition. Basingstoke, NY: Palgrave, 2001.

Israel, Jonathan. Diasporas within a Diaspora: Jews, Crypto-Jews, and the World Maritime Empires, 1540–1740. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 2002.

Kagan, Richard L., and Philip D. Morgan, eds. Atlantic Diasporas: Jews, Conversos, and Crypto-Jews in the Age of Mercantilism, 1500–1800. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2009.

Melammed, Renée Levine. A Question of Identity: Iberian Conversos in Historical Perspective. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004.

Roth, Cecil. A History of the Marranos. 5th ed. New York: Sepher-Hermon, 1992.


Background Reading on Sephardi Jewry

Beinart, Haim, ed. The Sephardi Legacy. 2 Vols. Jerusalem: Magnes, 1992.

Beinart, Haim. The Expulsion of the Jews from Spain. Translated by Jeffrey M. Green. London: Littman Library of JewishCivilization, 2002.

Gerber, Jane S. The Jews of Spain: A History of the Sephardic Experience. New York: Free Press, 1992.

Levy, Avigdor. The Sephardim in the Ottoman Empire. Princeton, NJ: Darwin, 1992.

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