- Christogenea Saturdays
The Jews in Europe: The Converso Problem and the Inquisition, Part 1
Over these last several months we have spent a lot of time discussing the early years of the Reformation relative to the life of Martin Luther. Discussing things such as the rise of humanism in Germany and the Reuchlin affair, as well as the fact that the support of humanists was crucial to the success of Luther’s cause in the years after the Reuchlin affair, we had frequently stated that we wanted to better quantify the role of the Jews who were indeed operating behind the scenes of these events.
There were, of course, converso Jews who were operating out in the open, and they could do so because they were supposed converts. Presenting Martin Luther’s On the Jews and Their Lies, we discussed the many converso Jews whose writings Luther had studied, and whose arguments he had adopted and employed against religious Jews. So Martin Luther himself had gotten much of his theological understanding from the Jews. But, for an even more pertinent example, we had also pointed out how Johannes Pfefferkorn, one of the leading voices against Johannes Reuchlin, was himself a converso Jew who had taken it upon himself to assume the role of spokesman for those who were opposed to Reuchlin, stepping out in front of the more traditionally conservative Dominican monks. We hope to have made it apparent that the Dominican monks had a dispute with Reuchlin with or without Pfefferkorn, but the converso Jew nevertheless became the leading voice and agitator for action.
And the illustration of this Jewish proclivity for undermining and dividing Christendom through agitation is one of the primary motives behind the writing of the book, The Jewish Revolutionary Spirit and its Impact on World History, by E. Michael Jones. In his book, Jones has already researched and elucidated many aspects of the Jewish role in these significant events of Christian history. Therefore, we are persuaded that a presentation of some of Jones’ work will greatly augment what we have been presenting in our series on Martin Luther and the Reformation. But we are also persuaded that this will serve as a necessary prerequisite to our future presentations of the Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion, which we had already hoped to resume, and which we plan to resume after we present some of the pertinent chapters from Jones’ book. We believe that these presentations will therefore enhance our understanding not only of the Reformation when we resume with our discussion of that, but also of the mentality and objectives of the authors of the Protocols themselves, as we have already demonstrated that the Protocols are certainly not mere forgeries.
So we have titled this program The Jews in Europe: The Converso Problem and the Inquisition, Part 1, and after this we will present Jones’ view of the Reuchlin affair, a perspective which is different than that the one which we have already seen. We had wanted to go back even further than the inquisition, and present Jones’ chapter covering the Hussite Wars and the earlier disaffection of Christians with the Roman Church. We chose not to, although we hope to discuss Jan Huss and other schisms with the Medieval Church at some point in the future. For now, we are persuaded that an understanding of Jewish behaviour during the Inquisition and up to the time of Luther is sufficient for our present purposes. If we kept having to go back in time in order to complete our understanding, we would have to start all over again from Genesis chapter 3. We have already covered much of that in our other work here at Christogenea.
However it must be noted in advance, that E. Michael Jones’ views in many ways are contrary to those of Identity Christians. First, his attitude towards Christianity is that of a traditional Roman Catholic, and he evidently believes that any opposition to the Roman Catholic Church is Jewish in nature. This is because he wrongly associates the Old Testament with the Jews, and also wrongly associates any fundamental interpretation of the New Testament with the Jews. Jones goes so far in his association of the Old Testament with Jews, that he quotes the Jew, Heinrich Graetz, where he said “Whenever a party in Christendom opposes itself to the ruling church, it assumes a tinge of the Old Testament, not to say Jewish spirit.” And of course, nothing could be further from the truth, unless we understand that modern Jews are actually Canaanites, and the Old Testament instructs us that it was the Canaanites who agitated the children of Israel in their rebellion against God. But that is a level of historical abstraction to which Jones remains blind, in spite of his studies.
Discussing this also helps to elucidate another fault in Jones’ work: that he frequently cites Jewish historians. Sometimes this cannot be helped, as there are no other available sources for some information. To Jones’ credit, he cites non-Jewish historians as well. Also to Jones credit, he is often critical of the Jewish historians that he cites. Where Jewish historians must be taken into consideration, they must be examined very critically. But concerning the Bible, Jewish historians must be dismissed entirely, and Jones fails in that regard. Jesus Christ Himself, as well as the apostle Paul of Tarsus, had both consistently demonstrated that Jews have no business interpreting or even understanding the Scriptures. Both Testaments of the Bible are entirely Christian books, except for the spurious Book of Esther, which is the only Jewish story in the entire book, and it needs to be removed.
Jones absolutely fails to realize that the people we now identify as Jews were infiltrators and corrupters of Judaea two hundred years before Christ, and that they had subverted Judaea just as they have more recently subverted Europe, America, and now the rest of the world. But before they were called Judaeans, they were called Edomites, and before that, they were known as Canaanites and Kenites. The New Testaments itself attests that none of them are truly who they claim to be. So Jewish subversion shall continue, until men face and accept the truth concerning the Jewish identity, and take the entire Bible back from the clutches of the Jew. For our purposes here, we shall tolerate and sometimes elucidate Jones’ faults, while we learn from the good things which he has diligently researched.
From The Jewish Revolutionary Spirit and its Impact on World History, by E. Michael Jones, this is:
Chapter Six, The Converso Problem, where he is discussing the results of the earlier and forced conversions of the Jews in Spain which had transpired in the 14th century:
Revenue to the crown dropped catastrophically as a consequence of the conversion of the Sephardic Jews. The Jews who submitted to baptism were no longer subject to the head tax. They were also, as Christians, qualified for governmental office. Race was not an issue. "[T]he Jew who became a Christian was eligible to any position in Church or State or to any matrimonial alliance for which his abilities fitted him."1 The converted Jews flourished, leading the nation in its return to "normalcy." When the king of Aragon admitted officially that many conversions were forced, and therefore unacceptable, and allowed Jews to return to Judaism if they wished, the resulting laxity, prosperity, lack of catechesis, and general lethargy, combined to call commitment to the faith into question. Because the Jews' way of life often didn't change much after conversion, the lines between Christians and Jews blurred in doctrinally and socially dangerous ways. The Infante Don Alfonso summarized the situation when criticizing "conversions [which] resulted from overt pressure and coercion."2 Forced conversions are not
deeds pleasing in the sight of God, for He desires voluntary and not compulsory sacrifices. Moreover, experience has shown that, contrary to expectations, the recent converts to the holy Catholic faith still continue most meticulously and reverently-even in an exaggerated form-in their perversities and faith in the false religion in which they believed before the illumination of the Holy Ghost came upon them. I can testify that I have observed this in my own private concerns and at my court. 3
[So we see that the Jews in Spain were being forced to convert to Christianity, but on the other hand there were great financial, social and political incentives for them to convert. The Infante Don Alfonso mentioned here is apparently Alfonso, Prince of Asturias, who died in 1468. He was a leading figure of the rebellions of nobles and merchants against his half-brother Henry IV, the king of Castile, dubbed Henry the Impotent. He was the son of John II of Castile, by his second wife, Isabella of Portugal. Our author will later explain why the forced conversions were undertaken.]
The very openness of Spanish Society, though favorable in the short run, was ultimately detrimental to the status of the converted Jews. Diego de Valera, a converso, wrote "there was great enmity and rivalry" on the Cordoba city council, because "the New Christians [a term frequently used here for converso Jews] were very rich and kept buying public offices, which they made use of so arrogantly that the Old Christians [the true Christian Spaniards] would not put up with it."4 [Which reflects the state of modern politics.] The conversos often worked at the royal courts because their religion was no longer an impediment to putting their abilities to use as civil servants. In 1415 Juan II of Castile informed his converso treasurer, "Whereas I have been informed that members of your family were, when Jews, considered to be noble, it is right that you should be held in even more honor now that you are Christians. Therefore it is my decision that you be treated as nobles.''5 The status of the Jews who converted in the wake of the riots of 1391 and the campaigns of Vincent Ferrer in the early 15th Century has been disputed ever since. Cantor [a Jewish historian] says
not only were the great majority of Jewish converts sincere, but from among learned and aristocratic New Christian families came some of the greatest names in early 16th Century Spanish ecclesiastical and cultural history: Juan Luis Vives, the Erasmian humanist, Bartolome de Las Casas, the apostle to the Native Americans and nemesis of the reckless conquistadors; St. Teresa of Avila, reformer of the Carmelite order, the first female doctor of the Church, and the teacher of St. John of the Cross; as well as some leading bishops of the time, such as Hernando de Talavaro, the first bishop of Granada, formerly Queen Isabella's confessor. 6
[Here we see that the Jews, as soon as they were converted to Christianity in Spain, had been exalted above the true Christians, and had immediately taken the vanguard in the causes of humanism, universalism and feminism. The first paragraph at Wikipedia in the article about Juan Luis Vives is interesting:
“Juan Luis Vives ... was a Valencian scholar and humanist who spent most of his adult life in the Southern Netherlands. His beliefs on the soul, insight into early medical practice, and perspective on emotions, memory and learning earned him the title of the "father" of modern psychology. Vives was the first to shed light on some key ideas that established how we perceive psychology today.”
Ignorant of history, Christians simply do not understand how far we have fallen, following the Jews. Our society has long been filled with the poison of Jewish thought.]
Cantor goes on to say:
It is not an exaggeration to see the role of scions of converted Jewish families as central to the Spanish Renaissance of the early 16th Century, as were Jews in the modernist cultural revolution of the early 20th Century. In both cases complete access to general culture induced an explosion of intellectual creativity. The Jewish New Christians and their children in the early 16th Century embraced Christian thought and learning with the same kind of creative enthusiasm as assimilated Jews contributed to modernism in literature and theory between 1900 and 1940. 7
[Of course, Christians should see all of this as the corruption of a once-beautiful society, rather than as progressive advancement. But some Jews are more candid than others:]
Cecil Roth [another Jewish historian] says the opposite. Although "within a generation or two, the Marranos became assimilated enough," Roth feels appearances were deceiving. Although "their worldly success was phenomenal," and "they almost controlled the economic life of the country" and "made fabulous fortunes as bankers and merchants," and "thronged the liberal professions," even attaining high rank in the Church," the vast majority of the Conversos "remained faithful at heart to the religion of their fathers.... Their Christianity was merely a mask... They were Christians in nothing, and Jews in everything but name." 8
[With this, our author becomes incredulous, rejecting the notion that the most pious-seeming Jews could have actually been faking it. We would disagree. Here Jones uses Solomon Halevy as his example. The Jew Halevy was also known as Paul of Burgos, a rabbi and Talmudic scholar, and a very wealthy and influential Jew. He was also a tax-farmer, the only type of farming to which Jews are inclined. After his conversion, he quickly became the archbishop of Burgos, and was followed in that position by his own son. Martin Luther quoted frequently from his corrupt writings. So it is in reference to him that Jones asks:]
Was the Christianity of the Catholic bishop Solomon Halevy merely a mask? That seems unlikely. The evidence for the sincerity of Jewish conversions comes largely from the biographies of eminent conversos. [So Jones already disproves himself.] The evidence for insincerity comes largely from the documents of the Inquisition. Benzion Netanyahu resolves the dilemma by disqualifying all Inquisition documents as unreliable. [And disproving himself he uses the arguments of another Jew.] "Most of the conversos," Netanyahu tells us,
were conscious assimilationists who wished to merge with the Christian society, educate their children as fully fledged Christians and remove themselves from anything regarded as Jewish, especially in the field of religion.... the number of the Christianized Marranos was rising from generation to generation, while the number of clandestine Jews among them was rapidly dwindling to the vanishing point. In 1481, when the Inquisition was established the Judaizers formed a small minority in both relative and absolute numbers.... Surely there was no need to eliminate by force a phenomenon that was disappearing by itself. 9
[And in light of the subsequent history, we do not believe a word of what Netanyahu has told us. But we will soon see that our author also raises this issue.]
Netanyahu claims scholars felt the conversos were secret Jews only because of "the reliance of most scholars on the documents of the Inquisition." l0 To get an accurate picture of mid-15th Century Spain, evidence "must be obtained from sources that were absolutely free of the Inquisition's influence." 11 Evidence needs to be gleaned from "documents that antedated the Inquisition." 12 Those documents, Netanyahu says, show "virtually all Jewish authorities in Spain and elsewhere regarded the mass of the Marranos as renegades-that is, as apostates or gentiles. By any of these definitions, these were Christians, and in no way Judaizers or crypto-Jews.... Had the Marranos been secret Jews, the Jewish scholars and leaders who authored our sources would have been the first to confirm this fact.... The evidence of the Jewish sources, therefore, flatly contradicted the Inquisitional charges. Its lesson was that the New Christians [conversos] were generally what their name suggested." 13
Netanyahu thus begins to solve the problem of whether the converts were sincere, but raises another even more intractable problem. If the Jews were sincere, why did the turmoil the conversions were supposed to solve continue? If the conversions were sincere, why didn't peace return to Spain? [Valid questions, which prove that the conversions were not sincere.] Netanyahu's answer to that question is anti-Semitism. But, as of 1391, anti-Semitism did not exist. Animus against Jews was based purely on religious grounds. [That is true, the Spaniards, after over 700 years of Islamic multiculturalism could not tell apart the Wheat from the Tares. But the Catholic Jones also seems oblivious to the role of race in Christianity. Agreeing with this, he is about to cite Vincent Ferrer, who also felt the same way.] Baptism, as St. Vincent Ferrer pointed out, destroyed the Jew. There was no Jew left after conversion. According to principles that the popes reiterated repeatedly, converts were to be accepted without calumny. [It is a false notion of universalism, that water baptism miraculously changes the nature of the individual. This falsehood dates back to the practice of the Pharisees of Judaea by which they justified their proselytes, as the English scholar John Lightfoot had pointed out in his Commentary on the New Testament from the Talmud and Hebraica.] Why, then, was there a problem? Netanyahu's answer: the Spaniards hated the Jews and looked for any reason to discriminate against them, even after conversion. [Evidently, the Medieval Spaniards were the Germans of their time. The people who show the Jews the greatest tolerance are usually the most hated by the Jews.] According to Netanyahu, the bishops were not interested in "true conversion or religious probity.... What they wanted was to have the Jews degraded and repressed." 14 Netanyahu claims the Spanish bishops "did not want to have all of Spain's Jews converted and fused with the Spaniards." 15 But this is precisely what happened in case after prominent case! The conversion of Solomon Halevy [Paul of Burgos] is one example of a Jewish convert who was accepted unequivocally by both the Church and State. There is no evidence of any reluctance of the Spanish hierarchy to accept him as a fellow bishop in good standing. [Down through the time of Martin Luther, churchmen loved Burgos, and considered him a great scholar!] Torquemada, the Grand Inquisitor, came from a converso family. Ignoring these and other salient facts, Netanyahu claims the bishops evaded a dilemma when "they formally recognized the forced converts as Christians, but in practice treated them all as Jews on the grounds that their conversion was forced." 16 There is no evidence to support this contention, and much to contradict it. Netanyahu notes some bishops attempted to thwart the mass conversions, but refuses to accept the theological justification for their actions. Theological considerations distinguished the bishops from the politicians in Spain, the latter always more willing to use forced conversion as the simplest solution to intractable conflicts. Forced conversion was not new to Spain, nor were its sequelae. In 633 the Fourth Council of Toledo decreed "Very many of the Jews who, some time ago, were promoted to the Christian faith, are now not only known to blaspheme Christ and perform Jewish rites, they are also presumed to practice the abominable circumcisions." 17
After admitting "the Church often curbed the kings' zeal" and the bishops "at least to some extent, championed freedom of conscience," 18 Netanyahu is forced to question their motives. The more Netanyahu develops his thesis the more he gets caught in the hermeneutic of his own suspicions. The bishops, he says, "hid their real motives when they attributed the slowness of their action to their attempts to convert the Jews by preaching." 19 How does he know this? In opposing forced conversion, the Spanish bishops were only reiterating the constant teaching of the Church. No hidden motives were necessary to justify their position. Netanyahu gives no evidence for his assessment of their motives. Instead, he makes apodictic statements: "No one knew better than the Spanish bishops that they could not count on mere preaching and persuasion to convert Spain's Jews to Christianity. Hence, their policy on the issue of conversion was rooted in different considerations.'' 20 Netanyahu thus contradicts his original premise that the conversions were sincere. The crusade of Vincent Ferrer shows that preaching and persuasion led to the conversion of many Jews. [Jones upholds the exceptions as the ideal. The Jews nevertheless had many advantages to benefit for their voluntary conversion.] The same is true of the Disputation of Tortosa, which even Jewish sources admit. Netanyahu, as a result, is in a bind. If the conversions were insincere, then the documents of the Inquisition are worth examining. If the conversions were sincere, then they were not brought about by force, but by "preaching and persuasion." Netanyahu seems unaware of the contradiction at the heart of his book, a contradiction required by the unquestioned tenet of mainstream Jewish historiography, namely, that anti-Semitism is never a function of Jewish behavior. [Criticizing Netanyahu, Jones approaches the truth.]
Conspicuous by its absence from Netanyahu's book is any consideration of rabbinic theology on the issue of conversion under duress. The rabbis played into the hands of racists when they collaborated with unscrupulous Spanish politicians to allow false conversion. The early Church was split over whether Christians who renounced the faith during the Roman persecutions should be readmitted to the Church. The less rigid debated which penances should apply, but the Church never condoned renunciation of the faith. Talmudic Judaism, however, accommodated lying (if not in all cases of apostasy) based on a distinction that would have consequences as serious as those that followed from the forced conversions. [Actually, Talmudic prayers such as the Kol Nidre show that Judaism endorses the act of lying to non-Jews, and even relieves Jews who lie to one another. As Christ said in John chapter 8, for the Jew the act of lying is a natural trait.] In the 15th Century, the Rabbis in North Africa distinguished between anusim, or unwilling converts, and meshumadim, those who converted voluntarily. The only Jew ostracized by the synagogue was the sincere convert. The liar and dissembler were tolerated tacitly, in violation of the teaching of Moses and the scriptural principle articulated in the Book of Maccabees. [I have not determined exactly what principle in Maccabees is referred to here.] As a result, the rabbis and unscrupulous anti-Semitic Christian politicians collaborated in creating an atmosphere where subversion flourished. Jews who prospered by converting could continue to prosper as Christians while retaining the same opportunistic attitude toward Christianity that had prevented them from dying for Judaism [by refusing conversion]. The Christians who had been moved to violence against Jews now harbored the same animus, clouded by religious ambiguity, against the conversos, whom they called Marranos, a derogatory term, which some claim means swine. Race replaced religion as the source of the animosity, but now there was no instant theological cure, i.e., baptism, for being of the wrong race. There was, in fact, no cure other than extermination or expulsion.
[As we shall see, race replaced religion as the source of animosity because, as Jones is explaining, the Jews continued to act in the same manner as supposed Christians than they had previously acted as Jews, and even worse, now they had license to have, or to purchase, Christian wives and to purchase public offices previously restricted to them, giving them authority over Christians.]
Forced conversion strengthened the suspicions it was supposed to allay, and turned a difficult issue into an impossible one. And the rabbis were instrumental in strengthening the suspicions of the racially minded. Jews were regarded as a fifth column within the state, and conversos were regarded, because of the very conversion that was forced on them, as an even more dangerous fifth column within the Church. Fray Vicente de Rocamora, the confessor of Empress Maria [a very influential post], sister of Philip II, "threw off the mask of Catholicism and joined the Hebrew community at Amsterdam as Isaac of Rocamora.'' 21 In the 17th Century, the Jewish community at Amsterdam consisted almost exclusively of conversos who had thrown off the Catholic faith after escaping from Spain and Portugal. It was made up, in other words, of apostate Catholics who had lied about their faith.
[Jones makes a serious error by considering that Jews could possibly be “Catholics”, in the context that Catholics are Christians. Here is a quote from Hermann Ahlwardt, a member of the German Reichstag, circa 1895: "I am of the opinion that the baptism of Jews is of no use, because the Jews cannot lay aside their racial characteristics. The Jew cannot change his religion. Some of them may do so for business and commercial reasons, but these are worse than those who do not change." German anti-semitism certainly did not begin with Adolf Hitler. We saw this quote for the first time today, and could not help but include it here. Continuing with Jones:]
The cynical Jews who converted insincerely exploited the system of forced conversion to retain power and wealth: consequently those whose conversions were sincere suffered under the growing anti-Semitism. Later Jewish apologists seem unaware of the complexity of the situation and the implications that flow from it.
[Of course, we would not expect any such conversions to actually be sincere, but Jones is quite altruistic, probably because he does not understand the gravity of the issue of race.]
Roth's description of the conversos as "Christians in nothing, and Jews in everything but name" probably described some but not all Jews who converted after the uprising of 1391. He fails to see that justifying false conversion lends credence to the anti-Semites. First, it ignores the many sincere conversions. Roth [a Jew] and the Spanish anti-Semites dismiss the possibility of sincere conversion out of hand. Second, Roth's justification of duplicity condones subversion and makes it a Jewish characteristic. [From history and the New Testament, we know that subversion is a Jewish characteristic! False brethren who creep in unawares!] In this, Roth is following weighty rabbinic opinion, which accepted outward conversion if coupled with an inward denial. The rabbinic acceptance of duplicity would have far-reaching consequences for European Jewry. [In the statements concerning history, Jones is doing well, but in his opinions, he is fighting himself all the way.]
The regimen of false conversions in Spain made a bad situation worse. The cynical Jewish converts continued to exploit the situation under the protection of the Church, while the sincere Jewish converts lived under constant and intolerable suspicion. By the 1440s, it was clear that forced conversions had not solved Spain's Jewish problem. According to the Acts of the financial administration of Castile
Jews controlled about two-thirds of the indirect taxes and customs within the country, on the frontier and at the ports. Occasionally, in conjunction with tax-farming, Jews also engaged in purveying grain, arms and clothing for the army that was then fighting with the Moslems. A whole network of Jewish tax-farmers and collectors was spread over the entire kingdom. Their chief was a Jewish tax-farmer general, who also acted as the king's treasurer. 22
George Washington would refer to these same Jewish purveyors of arms and war supplies as a “Wicked Black Gentry”. The real beginnings of troubles for Christendom was when the kings decided that having Jews around for tax farming and other financial purposes was expedient to their interests.
The old animosities returned more virulently. A Jewish tax-collector was killed. On Jewish festivals, conversos "visited their Jewish friends at the synagogue and in the succah.'' 23 The lingua franca of both groups became a rationalist ''Averroism," according to which it was "common practice for both converso and Jewish intellectuals to compare the laws of the Torah to natural morality and natural law" and assert that Aristotle's Ethics was a "sufficient" guide for Christian conduct. 24 "The wholesale conversions," says Walsh [the Catholic American historian William Thomas Walsh],
seemed to have given to this opportunist type of Jew a chance to eat his cake and have it too. He could enjoy all the advantages of going to Mass on Sunday, and going to the Synagogue on Saturday. His children were barred from no profitable and honorable occupations. They could marry, thanks to his money, into noble impoverished families, and succeed to the proudest titles in Castile. They could become priests, even bishops. There was Andres Gomalz, parish priest of San Martin de Talavera, who, according to his own confession, celebrated Mass from 1472 to 1486 without believing in it. 25
[Paul of Burgos, or as Jones refers to him by his Jewish name, Solomon Halevy, claimed to have his inspiration from Thomas Aquinas. But Thomas Aquinas despised the Jews who made money from tax farming and usury, things which Burgos (as Luther called him) was heavily engaged in, and became quite wealthy from. So Solomon Halevy was a hypocritical Jew using Christianity as a front, as Jones unwittingly describes here. Likewise, we have just seen the record of supposedly converted Jews, Jews who were expected to be Christians, and rather than using Scripture as their moral guideline, resort to claims that Aristotle’s Ethics were good enough for Christian morality. This is humanism, and it has Judaism at its root. Converso Jews were flourishing, because they were still not held accountable to live as Christians, while they were being given all the benefits of being Christians. It was like letting wolves into the sheepfold and expecting them to act like sheep, without first removing their fangs. Jones continues:]
Baer, writing from the Jewish perspective, concurs. The fervor of conversion from 1391 to 1414 was followed by reaction, during which, the conversos returned ad vomitum Iudayisme. [Jones seems to mean, to the vomit of Judaism, alluding to the words of Peter.] Baer sees a conscious return to Jewish roots rather than cultural inertia or opportunism: "Not only did actual converts (anusim) try with all their might to live as Jews, but even the children and the grandchildren of apostates who had forsaken Judaism of their own free will and choice were now inclined to retrace their steps. The conversos secretly visited their Jewish brethren in order to join them in celebrating the Jewish festivals." 26 Baer says the conversos "had Jewish prayer books and engaged their own Hebrew teachers and ritual slaughters." 27
The conversos continued to earn the odium of the Christian majority because many lent money at interest and tax-farmed. The efficacy of baptism, and therefore, the sacramental system of the Church, was called into question, something that led inexorably to racism. [But the sacramental system was never Christian in the first place.] Or fear was suppressed and then transformed into hatred of the Jews, who were seen as trifling mendaciously with the most sacred commitments, and therefore incapable of being trusted. The suspicions fell most heavily on the cultured conversos of the upper class who benefited most from conversion by gaining access to offices previously off-limits to Jews. The average Christian believed he was ruled by a class of philosophical intellectuals who were nihilists and opportunists with no religious beliefs. [No different than today’s atheistic Jews, who insist upon being conferred with all the benefits of being the so-called “chosen” while denying God Himself.] Baer cites the saying, "to be born and die; all the rest is a snare and a delusion," as epitomizing the beliefs of this class of convert. [The attitude which gave rise to humanism within the Church.] 28 Because of the large number of converted Jews prominent in Spain, it was reputedly more secular than renaissance Italy. [Secular society is the natural result of a Jewish-dominated society, because the Jews truly have no God.] "Lyric poetry from the period reveals, as it did in the 12th and 13th centuries, a type of Jewish courtier who had become either a converso or an open apostate." The Italians felt the Jews ruled Spain, "while secretly perverting the faith by their covert adherence to Judaism.'' 29 [It was not long before devout Catholics such as Prince Carpi were fighting with Italian humanists within the Church in Italy.]
During the posthumous trial of Pedro de la Cavalleria, killed in 1461 in an uprising in Catalonia against John II of Aragon, a Jewish weaver testified that de la Cavalleria had lived near his home in a small village in Aragon to escape the plague. While there, de la Cavalleria often visited the weaver and took part in the Sabbath meal, eating hamin and other foods. [Hamin was a Jewish stew prepared in advance for the Sabbath.] When the tailor noticed how well versed de la Cavalleria was in Hebrew prayers, he asked him, why, "being so learned in the Torah," he had converted to Christianity. De la Cavalleria replied:
Silence, fool! Could I, as a Jew, ever have risen higher than a rabbinical post? But now, see, I am one of the chief councilors (jurado) of the city. For the sake of the little man who was hanged (Jesus), I am accorded every honor, and I issue orders and decrees to the whole city of Saragossa. Who hinders me-if I choose-from fasting on Yom Kippur and keeping your festivals and all the rest? When I was a Jew I dared not walk as far as this (i.e., beyond the prescribed limits of a Sabbath day's walk) but now I do as I please. 30
Baer concludes "Testimony as detailed can hardly be doubted." 31 Conversos could have the best of both worlds. They could advance in careers formerly barred to them, and they could continue to lend money and tax farm, without the heavy burden of the Jewish law or the equally heavily burden of taxation levied on the Jews. They had the freedom of the Gospels from the Jewish law, and they had the freedom of the Jews from Christian responsibility. No one was able to enforce either set of rules on them. [And their behavior always proves that their conversions are never sincere. But as Jones is about to state, the records show that the Spaniards could not fairly be charged with racism, or with racist anti-semitism.]
This triumph was short-lived. Their success shows there had been no antagonism of race but only of religion. That changed speedily. As apostate Jews, in many cases, they lavished hate and contempt on those who remained Jews. It proved impossible to stimulate popular abhorrence of the Jew without also stimulating the envy and jealousy excited by the ostentation and arrogance of the New Christians [conversos]. Morals deteriorated at the court, and the peasants groaned under their predations. "This situation," Walsh says,
could not go on indefinitely without an explosion, and unfortunately there were many explosions of the worst possible sort. The mob, seeing the government of Enrique el Impotente unwilling to do anything to curb the conversos, and virtually handing over to them the conduct of both State and Church, took matters into their own hands. In one city after another, just before Queen Isabel came to the throne, the conversos were put to the sword and their houses burned. 32
That “morals deteriorated at the court” is another sign of Jewish supremacism, as morals deteriorate wherever Jews preponderate. Recent history is more than sufficient proof of the accusation. They create Sodom and Gomorrah wherever they go.
The explosion occurred in Toledo in 1449, when Alvaro de Luna demanded the city pay for the defense of the frontiers. When the city refused, Alvaro ordered his tax-farmers, most of whom were conversos, to collect. The population rose in rebellion and burned the house of a prominent converso tax-farmer to the ground. The mob then turned on the houses of Toledo's other conversos and burned them to the ground too. It was the first racially based pogrom in the history of Christendom; it marked the entry of racism into European history: "the hatred which of old had been merely a matter of religion had become a matter of race. The one could be conjured away by baptism; the other was indelible and the change was of the most serious import, exercising for centuries its sinister influence on the fate of the Peninsula."33
[This is certainly not true, as racial prejudices were quite normal among ancient Greeks and Romans. Jones, however, seems to be ignorant of the broader history of our race, and the issue of race which is often raised in the New Testament as well as the Old. However under the universal Roman Catholic Church, historically racism was discouraged especially among perceived Catholics. For most of European history, the absence of racism was immaterial as the cultures of the various nations were quite homogenous, while in the presence of the Jew, religion was the necessary element which set him apart so race was simply not a factor. So the Catholic Church, because its doctrines were void of racism, was unprepared to confront the Jew when his conversion proved that his wicked traits remained in spite of his change in religion, and therefore those wicked traits must be attributed to the matter of his race. When the Jew converted but failed to change, the mask of religion fell off and his true nature was revealed. Jones continues:]
State and church responded promptly. The old Christians held the conversos responsible for the uprising. Pedro Sarmiento had conversos tortured; they confessed they had been living as Jews. He sentenced them to burn at the stake and issued an edict accusing them of perfidy. The conversos, the edict claimed, had been behind Don Alvaro's ruinous levy, which was tantamount to an act of war. The conversos, further, had plundered the royal treasury "by stratagems and cunning," which had impoverished the ancient nobility, depriving them of their fortunes, rights and privileges. Sarmiento then "proclaimed all conversos of Jewish descent to be unfit for any public office whose occupants exercise authority over Old Christians in the city and the district." 34
[The Church in Rome responded by asserting its refusal to acknowledge any difference in racial characteristics which prevented Jews from being true Christians. If it was not killed by treachery, it died of altruism:]
On September 24, 1449, Pope Nicholas V issued a bull declaring that the faithful were one and that racial distinctions had no standing in the Catholic Church. He ordered the king to enforce the laws of Alfonzo X to this effect. Converts to the Catholic faith were to be accepted without calumny. Alonso de Oropesa, General of the Geronimites, wrote Lumen ad Revelationem Gentium, supporting the pope's pronouncement that the Church was one. He also laid out a program of reform to deal with the converso issue, but the feuding between old and new Christians continued unabated.
[Alfonso X, who ruled Castile and Leon from 1252 to 1284, is said by Wikipedia to have “fostered the development of a cosmopolitan court that encouraged learning. Jews, Muslims, and Christians had prominent roles in his court.” So we see how early ecumenism had taken hold in Spain.
Alonso de Oropesa was a Jewish converso and Hieronymite monk. Here Jones refers to Hieronymites as Geronimites, from the Spanish version of the name. The Hieronymites were the Catholic Order of St. Jerome. According to the Spanish Wikipedia site “An examination of his Lumen ad revelationem Gentium, commissioned by Henry IV, [was] a defense of the unity of the Old [White] and New [converso Jew] Christians by the figure of the mystical body of Christ...” It is said to be the most important defense of the conversos of the fifteenth century. Basically, we can see that (Lumen ad revelationem Gentium which means “A light for a Revelation of the Nations”) was a manual commanding true Christians to tolerate insincere Jewish infiltrators.]
The grievances of the old Christians can be gleaned from a satire written around this time. A parody of a royal document, it purports to confer privileges on a knight of old Christian descent to henceforth live like a Marrano. He could now advise the country's rulers
and by his wicked counsel to lead them into the paths of licentiousness, lust and oppression of their poor subjects and to derive from all this the utmost possible advantages for himself. He was entitled... to charge interest on loans, to keep the Jewish laws, to intermarry with members of the Jewish race, to hold their opinions, and to believe not in the Catholic faith but solely in birth and death. 35 [In other words, never practice Christianity during his lifetime.]
He was also granted permission
to swindle old Christians and set them to murdering one another. He was also free to become a priest for the purpose of listening to the confessions of old Christians and to pry into their secrets. He and his posterity were permitted to become physicians and surgeons so as to kill old Christians, take away their wives, defile their pure blood and occupy their posts. 36
[Interestingly, the pope that stood up for the Jews at this time, Nicholas V, had a medical doctor for a father. Here it is evident, that everything for which Christian Nationalists complain about the Jews today, was already vocalized in the satire of Medieval Spain! There is nothing new under the sun.]
The satire parodies the greed of the conversos, granting the old Christian the right to carry "tax-farming registers in place of prayer books" when attending Church services, "as many of the marranos were in the habit of doing." Christian knights were "to be called by Jewish names in private and Christian names in public so as to deceive the people." 37 Baer claims this satire marks the entry of racism into European life "because in it we find for the first time the favorite racial adage: that the pure blood of Spanish Christians was defiled when mixed with that of persons of the Jewish race." 38 [The Greeks had similar sympathies of all other races two thousand years sooner.] Racism was deeply subversive of the Catholic faith thereafter throughout European history until the Nazi genocide, because it cast doubt on the efficacy of the sacraments, and, consequently, on the power of Christ and his Church. [No Jewish historian can write a book without perpetuating the lie of the so-called “Nazi genocide”. In truth, the only genocide which was committed was that against Germans by the Jews, which is ongoing to this very day. Racism against converso Jews casts doubt on the efficacy of the sacrament, because Jews continue to act wickedly even after receiving the sacrament. But the sacrament is a church ritual, not an act founded by Scripture, and no act of Christianity is expected to change wicked nature of the Jew.] The Spaniards who had the misfortune to live under weak kings like Henry the Impotent "had learned from experience that a man's characteristics and beliefs were not changed by baptism, despite its 'ineffaceable character.'" 39 All conversos were now suspect; and Jews could use these suspicions to cast doubts on the successful efforts of Vincent Ferrer, Pablo Santa Maria, and Geronimo de Sancte Fide.
[This is the assessment of a Jew concerning Christianity, and of course it is false. How ironic is it that Jews become Catholics and immediately begin determining Catholic doctrine? However Catholic doctrine was never actually founded upon Scripture. As we asserted recently in another context, the laws of man are easily undermined, as are precepts of religion created by men. God’s law is racist, it is natural, and its veracity cannot be undermined. But Roman Catholicism was founded on the precepts of men, and not of God. Continuing with Jones:]
King John II of Castile responded to the crisis in Toledo by siding with the pope and punishing Sarmiento and the old Christians, whose anti-converso decrees were revoked. Sarmiento fled for his life. Two years later, Nicholas V bowed to political necessity when John II asked him for the authority to establish the Inquisition to try conversos suspected of practicing Judaism in secret. The nobles of the realm, however, continued to exert pressure from the opposite direction. They wanted repressive laws revoked so they could attract Jews into their service. When they were not revoked, the nobles ignored them and favored Jews for financial reasons. To fulfill the pecuniary expectations of the princes, the Jews reverted to grinding the Christian majority, a practice that further inflamed already white-hot resentment. The nobles and districts that followed the law were, in effect, punished financially for doing so, which led the Cortes of 1462 to ask Henry to rescind the offending laws and restore liberty of trade between Christian and Jew.
[The sons of John II were his successor Henry IV and Alfonso, Prince of Asturias, who later became a leading figure of the rebellions of the “Old Christians” against Henry IV, nicknamed “Henry the Impotent”, perhaps because he couldn’t do a damned thing about the Jews. Returning to Jones:]
Henry the Impotent's inability to control the situation resulted in 20 years of increasing anarchy, leading eventually to civil war. Both Jew and Christian, old and new, were to learn that tolerance was another word for chaos. [As it is again today.] The Judaizers maintained the upper hand in government because the ruler was too weak to rein them in, but the inactivity of the princes only led to the increased activity of the prelates, who complained loudly because the prince handed his realm over to exploiters.
Six years into Henry's reign, Alfonso de Espina, a Franciscan monk, published one of the most virulent attacks on the Jews to date, Fortalitium Fidei (Fortress of Faith). Espina was the confessor to Henry IV and a Jewish convert himself, so once again the old pattern reasserted itself. His book and sermons followed in the footsteps of Martini's Pugio Fidei, but his ire focused on the conversos. [Martini was a 13th century Dominican monk appointed as a missionary to the Jews and Moors of Spain and Tunis in Africa. His work, Pugio Fidei, was a polemical refutation of Judaism. Some scholars believe that he too was a converso Jew, and he evidently had an extensive knowledge of even obscure Hebrew literature. Martin Luther referred to him as well, and we discussed him when we presented On the Jews and Their Lies, where he was called Raymund, by the name that Luther knew him. Jones continues:] The situation was as confusing as it was dangerous. In his diatribe, Espina "suggested that if an Inquisition were established in Castile, large numbers of them would be found to be only pretending Christians, engaged in judaizing and in undermining the Faith they professed." 40 Something had to be done to end the confusion, under whose cover "The judges of the people" were "being seduced by the bribes they receive from the cruel Jews who blaspheme God." Everyone pursued his gain at the expense of everyone else, but "No man takes up the cudgels for abject Spain." 41
The complaints of the old Christians against "the religious misconduct of the conversos, who were never punished" were not exaggerated, according to Espina. They were "well-grounded." 42 When the crown did nothing, "the embittered populace rose up and took vengeance upon the conversos on their own initiative. " 43 Oropesa, who proposed a more moderate course than Espina, concurred and "suggested that the king put an end to this state of anarchy by means of suitable regulations." The radical Espina and the moderate Oropesa, who defended the conversos, thought some judicial body was necessary to pursue the rumors of judaizing and either lay them to rest as fictions or establish them as fact and prosecute the guilty. Even Oropesa reproved the government for handing its reins to the Jews. His strategy was to divide the conversos from the Jews and to lead the converso to a stronger, deeper faith through Christian charity. Unfortunately, the opposite happened, but both voices were instrumental in forming the consensus that established the Inquisition in Spain.
[These Brother Nathaniels of the 15th century are merely Jewish actors and Judas goats leading Christian sheep to believe that some of the wolves are good wolves. This sort of Jew often makes an exhibition as the most rabid anti-Jew, only to make a more marked example of themselves as the so-called “good Jew”. Here, in essence we have two converso jews arguing over the conditions by which wolves may be integrated into the sheep. So they also assume the roles of “good cop, bad cop”. Jones continues, and here the nature of the converso Jew is revealed even more strikingly:]
In 1453, after Constantinople fell to the Turks, the Christians feared a resurgence of Muslim influence in Spain, thwarting the reconquista. The Jews were seized again with Messianic fervor, much of it described in Espina's Fortalitium Fidei. The arrival of the Messiah was imminent once again, even if "None could see the Messiah except circumcised Jews; if any non-Jews looked at him, he would blind them forthwith by his dazzling radiance." 44 [Here Jones is quoting Espina, who is a supposedly pious convert, but he obviously is not pious if he still thought that only Jews could see the Messiah. It is evident, therefore, that Espina is another lying Jew converso.] In 1464, large numbers of conversos sailed for Constantinople, where they intended to revert to the religion of their fathers and give aid to the Turk Antichrist, who planned to march on Christian Europe and subdue it as the Moors had subdued Spain in the 8th Century.
[If Christians did not realize the racial element within the Jews by this time, that they are inherently evil, what could possibly persuade them today? Back to Jones:]
During the 1460s, many Jews who fled persecution in Castile settled in Aragon, where lax conditions led to a fairly open practice of Judaism by the conversos. One refugee was Juan de Ciudad, who presented himself at the home of Rabbi Abraham Bivach for circumcision. After a rite which removed, according to rabbinic theory, the stain of baptism, Juan de Ciudad set off for the Holy Land, presumably to practice his religion and give whatever aid he could to the Turkish Antichrist. Baer summarizes the conditions then extant in Aragon: "Only religious laxity, toleration and the state of war then prevailing in the Kingdom of Aragon can explain the fact that such actions could take place almost publicly, and that the circumcised men could go their way unhindered." 45
[Which begs the questions, How could a people who were really being persecuted have such license? The Jewish histories are full of contradictions.]
In 1465, Oropesa led a delegation of Christian nobles who petitioned the king to enforce the laws against Jews and Muslims; high on the list was a request to enforce anti-usury laws, an indication the issue of usury was still intractable. Henry, however, was in no position to enforce anything. His kingdom was in anarchy, which soon descended into civil war, even though he was no longer king. Later in 1465, his brother Alfonso deposed Henry IV. Alfonso ascended the throne of Castile in 1467. When Alfonso entered Toledo in May of that year, open warfare broke out between the old Christians and the conversos. On July 2, a battle raged in Toledo for three days, during which four streets inhabited exclusively by conversos went up in flames. "Many of the conversos who fought in these battles," says Baer, "were undoubtedly involuntary converts who practiced the Jewish rites and believed in the torah-a fact confirmed by the records of the Inquisition in the middle and late 1480s." 46 [Alfonso died in 1468 when he was only 14, and Henry IV regained his kingdom.]
In 1469 Dona Isabella of Castile married Don Fernando, son of John II of Aragon. Ferdinand and Isabella tried to resolve the civil war that raged through-out Spain. The Jews were initially well-disposed to the marriage. Pedro de la Cavalleria had brought the pearl collar that served as the equivalent of an engagement ring to Castile. The Jews felt that a strong regime that maintained law and order would benefit them. But, at least initially, Ferdinand and Isabella proved incapable of ending the civil war.
In March 1473, violence and racial hatred broke out again with renewed fury. During the conflicts of 1473, the Inquisition tried conversos in Cordova and Ciudad Real. On December 10, 1474, Henry IV died, bequeathing his kingdom and its problems to the young married couple, who began to accept a nation-wide introduction of the Inquisition as the only way to restore law and order to the realm. The only thing that united Spain was the demand for resolution of the crisis. Anton de Montora, a converso from Cordova, wrote a poem upon their accession which describes the plight of his co-religionists, "innocent people whose faith," he claims, was "as orthodox as the sovereigns." 47 The mendicant friars, though, continued to preach sermon after sermon against Judaism and the Judaizers, urging the faithful to take matters into their own hands.
[So the only way to restore order to Spain was to eliminate all Jews and false converts. Of course, true Christians should understand that all Jewish converts are false. That so many conversos so readily fled to Turkey with the hope of joining the Turks in the destruction of Christendom, should alone have revealed to these Spaniards the truth behind the much earlier Muslim invasions of Spain. The Muslims were being pushed out, and now the Jews set their hopes on the Turks. Today the pattern continues. How dumb could Christians be? Here it is also proven, that there was no racial hatred of Jews in Europe before the Jewish treachery against Europe. The Jews are always the aggressors, and always portray themselves as victims. Returning to Jones:]
There was also the matter of the Moors, who still occupied southern Spain, and who were suspected of being in league with the Jews. [Of course they were!] And there were also the recalcitrant nobles, who were a law unto themselves, pillaging and plundering at will. Isabella needed to reimpose law on her kingdom, but she also realized that military conquest was necessary before that could happen.
After victory at Toro over the party of the Beltraneja, Henry's putative daughter whom the Portuguese backed as claimant to the throne in 1476, the Cortes of Madrigal restored royal prerogatives. Jews were even more beyond the law than the renegade nobles. They were tried in their own courts. [The Talmud says that they are never guilty of anything done to Gentiles.] They could be prosecuted in royal courts for criminal offenses, but they could only be punished in accord with their own law. They could not be summoned to court on the Sabbath. Even polygamy was tolerated among the Jews, and so they became an ongoing incitement for contempt of the law and of the Christian faith. The Conversos quickly exploited the situation. The Cura de los Palacios claimed the practice of Judaism was widespread among the conversos. Lea [American Henry Charles Lea, a Quaker and historian of the latter Middle Ages] claims that when the royal couple took the throne, the Judaizers were so powerful that "the clerks were on the point of preaching the law of Moses." 48 [A pun which should not necessarily be taken seriously, but which was made to describe how powerful the Jews had become.] In addition, the Judaizing conversos "avoided baptizing their children, and, when they could not prevent it they washed off the baptism on returning from the church; they ate meat on fast days and unleavened bread at Passover." 49 They also continued to benefit from usury, claiming "they were spoiling the Egyptians." 50 [But they really considered the actual Christians to be no different than Biblical Egyptians, and no less dispensable.] As a result, they became wealthy and powerful enough to block the enforcement of the laws that would have restored order. Anarchy thwarted the attempt to impose order.
[Just as they block the enforcement of immigration laws today, and let the negros run wild in the streets.]
This is the turning point for the Jews in Spain, where Isabella is about to have a revelation. But it is also foreboding misfortune for the rest of the world. Here we will conclude our presentation for this evening, and plan on presenting the rest of this chapter as early as next Saturday.