- Christogenea Saturdays
The Jews in Europe: The Converso Problem and the Inquisition, Part 2
Here we shall offer a summary background loosely based upon what we had seen in the first segment of this presentation, adding a few of our own opinions.
After the Visigoths of Spain had converted to Christianity, and began to regulate their kingdom with Christian principles, life for the Jews became quite intolerable. Laws were made whereby Jews could no longer lend money to Christians on usury, Jews could no longer hold office or rule over Christians, and other laws by which they could no longer live as parasites on the larger White society. Jews had thrived for centuries in pagan Spain, and the parasites were not going to let themselves be deprived of such a profitable host. So in the 7th century the Jews reacted by bringing the moslems into Spain in order to destroy the Gothic kingdom. Perhaps around two-thirds of the Iberian peninsula came to be ruled and also occupied by Arabs and Moors for over 7 centuries. But when the moslems were finally being forced out in the Reconquest, the Jews remained, their role in the moslem invasion being quite obscure to most all Spaniards, and, unfortunately, even to most Christians today.
We can search out the events leading up to the moslem invasions of North Africa and Spain, and we may find that Jews created the moslem religion for the very purpose of organizing the Arab hordes against Christendom. While that is outside of the scope of our purpose here, the result stands as the first proof of the assertion.
By the time of Charlemagne, the kings and nobles of Europe had already long discovered that, because Christians generally could or would not do such things, the Jewish usurers, panderers and merchants were useful as sources of revenue. Being outside of Christian law, Jews were allowed to operate anti-Christian enterprises within Christian lands because the nobles could profit by taxing them. Because Jews operated in that same way in every country, they were also able to network and control trade between countries. So Jews not only became liable as tax payers, but also came to be employed as tax farmers and financial administrators, and then as bureaucrats in many other areas, and they were used by the nobles to extract money from both other Jews and from the Christian society in ways that other Christians would not. However the Jews themselves profited greatly from the advantages which the nobles had given them.
As we have seen, by the 13th century the Christian majority in Spain could no longer tolerate the Jews who had come to dominate over them financially and through the bureaucracy. So they believed that forcing the Jews to convert to Christianity, the nature of the Jews would change and they would be able to live in Spain in harmony. But after the Jews were converted, their behavior only worsened, because they refused to live like Christians while they gained all of the advantages granted to Christians in the Christian society. They also used their wealth to purchase offices within the church and government for which their new status gave them access, further increasing their dominance over the Christian majority. Therefore the strife and division amongst the people of Spain was not solved by converting the Jews.
By the 14th century many Spaniards began to realize that it was not merely the Jewish religion, but the inherent racial nature of the Jews which made them act as they did. However this understanding created a dilemma for the Roman Catholic Church, which falsely believes that its baptism sacrament changes the nature of an individual. So in order to uphold their false doctrine, the popes were forced to deny the racial nature of the Jewish question, and make laws protecting Jews who continued to claim to be Christians. What was never done, however, was to force Jews claiming to be Christians to actually live as Christians. So Jews had the best of both worlds: Christian status without Christian accountability, while they continued to do things prohibited to Christians and profit greatly by them. Therefore the popes, seeking to protect their false religious doctrines, were actually running cover for the Jews.
All of this is relevant to society today, because Christians never admitting the racial nature of Jewish treachery, have come to be ruled over by Jews everywhere and still cannot see the source of their troubles. But that is for another time…
In 15th century Spain, the kingdoms of Aragon and Castile were riddled with unrest caused by the oppression of the common people by the minority of Jews who had come to dominate Spanish society by acting as conversos, supposed converts to Christianity, while continuing to function as Jews. There was also the fight against the moslems to complete the Reconquest. Because of the unrest, Spain was riddled with civil war. The Jews were the target, the popes were protecting them, and the people were often in despair. Something had to break.
These were pretty much the circumstances being described where we had left off with our presentation of chapter 6 of E. Michael Jones’ book, The Jewish Revolutionary Spirit and its Impact on World History, and now we shall commence with the chapter, which is titled The Converso Problem, where Jones is discussing a revelation which Isabella of Castille, the wife of Ferdinand of Aragon, had received listening to a sermon, where she became convinced that the only solution to the Jewish question was to renew the Inquisition and employ it against Converso Jews, and eventually to drive the Jews out of Spain. Of course, this would also have long-term consequences for the rest of Europe, which reach even to today.
Isabella was the queen of Castile and Leon from 1474, and through her husband became Queen consort of Sicily from 1469, of Aragon from 1479, and of Naples in 1504. She died in November, 1504. Her daughter Joanna I succeeded her in Castile and Leon, and her husband retained his own crowns until his death in 1516. While Spain was united for a time in the marriage of Ferdinand and Isabella, it was not permanently united until the death of Ferdinand, when Joanna I, his daughter with Isabella, and her co-regent son Charles V came to rule both Aragon and Castile. Charles V, whose father was of the Austrian House of Habsburg, was hereditary ruler of Austria, Burgundy, Aragon and Castile, along with several other principalities, he went on to become Holy Roman Emperor during the formative years of the Reformation in Germany.
So with this background, we shall commence with our presentation of this chapter from page 213 of E. Michael Jones’ book, The Jewish Revolutionary Spirit and its Impact on World History:
In July 1477, Isabella came to Seville. During her stay, which lasted until October 1478, she was subjected to the sermons of Fray Alfonso de Hojeda, the Dominican prior of Seville, who "devoted all his energies to making the crown aware of the reality of the danger from Jews and false converts." 51 Espina's successor, Hojeda, convinced Isabella that her own court was infested with conversos, whose insincerity was incontestable; that, according to principles universally accepted, it was the sovereign's duty to restore the unity of faith; and, that the instrument to do this was the Inquisition, a juridical body that had proven its worth dealing with the Albigensian heretics two centuries previously.
We must note, that because the Roman Church has upheld so many dogmas which are actually hostile to Scripture, that contentions regarding the “unity of the faith” can have results both good and bad. A few decades later, during the indulgences dispute, the Emperor Maximilian opposed Luther in a letter to the Pope written in August of 1518, where he said that ‘if not strenuously opposed, [Luther’s innovations] would imperil the unity of the faith, and private opinion would take the place of traditional dogma.’ Charles V would later reject Luther on similar grounds. Jones continues by describing Isabella’s reaction to Hojeda:
Isabella was convinced radical measures were necessary. The report of Hojeda and the Bishop of Cadiz convinced her nearly all converts were secretly practicing Judaism. They convinced her as well that priests of Jewish descent were "on the point of preaching the Law of Moses from Catholic pulpits.'' 52 Logic dictated that she could not rely on her courts because they were staffed by Conversos. The only suitable instrument was the Inquisition, a legal body whose judges would be Dominican monks, "carefully chosen and beyond the reach of intimidation or bribery." 53
We must say, that a historian whom E. Michael Jones has cited elsewhere in this chapter, Henry Charles Lea, has downplayed the impact of Hojeda on Isabella, where he said in his History of the Inquisition in Spain, in Chapter 4, in reference to Fray Alonso de Espina, that “In his capacity of agitator he had been succeeded by Fray Alonso de Hojeda, prior of the Dominican house of San Pablo of Seville, who devoted himself to the destruction of Judaism, both open as professed by the Jews and concealed as attributed to the Conversos.” Then after discussing the Battle of Toro he writes: “At the end of July, 1477, Isabella, after capturing the castle of Trugillo, came, as we have seen, to Seville where she remained until October, 1478. The presence of the court, with Conversos filling many of its most important posts, excited Fray Alonso [Jones calls him Alfonso] to greater ardor than ever. It was in vain, however, that he called the queen's attention to the danger threatening the faith and the State from the multitude of pretended Christians in high places. She was receiving faithful service from members of the class accused and she probably was too much occupied with the business in hand to undertake a task that could be postponed. It is said that her confessor, Torquemada, at an earlier period, had induced her to take a vow that, when she should reach the throne, she would devote her life to the extirpation of heresy and the supremacy of the Catholic faith, but this may safely be dismissed as a legend of later date. Be this as it may, all that was done at the moment was that Pero Gonzalez de Mendoza, then Archbishop of Seville, held a synod in which was promulgated a catechism setting forth the belief and duties of the Christian, which was published in the churches and hung up for public information in every parish, while the priests were exhorted to increased vigilance and the frailes [or brothers, which were friars] to fresh zeal in making converts. [...] It was during Isabella's stay in Seville that, on September 2d, she confirmed, followed by Ferdinand at Xeres, October 18, 1477, a forged decree, ascribed to Frederic II, granting certain privileges to the Inquisition of Sicily. [Lea refers us to another of his books for further discussion of the forged decree.] This was done at the request of Filippo de Barbarj, subsequently Inquisitor of Sicily, then at the court, whom both monarchs qualify as their confessor. He is said to have exercised considerable influence with them in overcoming the opposition to the establishment of the Inquisition in Castile.” But even with this, we do not find Jones’ account here to be incredible, and will return to his narrative:
In 1478 she sent a delegation to Pope Sixtus IV to procure the necessary bull. Less than two years later, Mohammed II, head of the newly vitalized Turkish forces in the former capital of the eastern Roman empire, ravaged the coast of Apulia [in southern Italy] in anger after failing to take the island of Rhodes. On August 11, 1480, Mohammed took Otranto in Naples, and immediately put half of the population to the sword. The archbishop and his clergy were slaughtered after being tortured. When the news arrived in Spain in mid-September, the threat of the resurgent Turk convinced Ferdinand and Isabella they could no longer vacillate. They put into immediate effect the powers Sixtus granted them two years earlier. The Spanish Inquisition came into existence when Ferdinand and Isabella were dealing with long-standing and seemingly intractable civil war and anarchy. Additionally, they declared war on the Muslim kingdom of Grenada in 1482. The creation of the Inquisition is an indication they saw Jews and Judaizers as central to both the Muslim problem in the territory yet to be conquered and the problem of anarchy in areas under their control.
On September 17, 1480, Juan de San Martin, bachelor of theology and friar of San Pablo in Seville, and Miguel de Morillo, master of theology, were appointed grand inquisitors, with Juan Ruiz de Medina as their advisor. Tomas Torquemada [whom Jones has informed us was a converso] was brought in as a consulting expert; quite possibly, according to Walsh, "he had beside him, for reference, a copy of Eymeric's Directorium, borrowed from some Dominican convent in Aragon or Languedoc." 54 The friars were solemnly informed that any dereliction of duty would lead to their removal, with "forfeiture of all their temporalities and denaturalization in the kingdom." 55 By royal order, they received free transportation to Seville, the town where the Judaizing heretics were most flagrantly and deeply rooted. In Seville, the Inquisition began its work.
Nicholas Eymerich was a Roman Catholic theologian and served as the Inquisitor General of the Inquisition of the Crown of Aragon in the later half of the 14th century. He had written the Directorium Inquisitorum, a handbook for Inquisition procedure employed for three centuries.
The question of the sincerity of the conversos has been debated continually. The Rabbis of North Africa were unequivocal. If the conversions were real and voluntary, converts were called meshumadim; unwilling converts were known as anusim. There was ample evidence "the conversos continued living in some measure as Jews, but with the advantage now of enjoying rights accorded to Christians." 56 In Mallorca, a rabbi commented, the authorities "are lenient with the conversos and allow them to do as they will." Many modern writers, in no way anti-Semitic, consistently identify the conversos as Jews. An influential school in modern Jewish historiography has likewise ironically insisted the Inquisition was right, all conversos were aspiring Jews. Yitzhak Baer states uncompromisingly "the conversos and Jews were one people, united by destiny."57
So here we see that the Jews themselves are racists, because they understand that even if a Jew loses his religion, and goes so far as claiming to be a Christian, he is still a Jew. Racism is therefore an innate Jewish trait going back all of these hundreds of years. But why is it evil for Christians to be racists as well? Because the Jews have always been the masters of their own hypocrisy. However they are indeed correct in one regard, that all Jews are united by a common destiny regardless of their profession of faith. Continuing with Jones:
The simplest way to resolve the conflict is to conclude that both sides were right. From the Christian perspective, many conversos were virtually practicing Jews. They remained Christians voluntarily, but "it was their voluntary Christianity which marked them in Jewish eyes as renegades, meshumadim." 58 Once the crown in collaboration with the Church enforced orthodoxy on the conversos [meaning that they would have to live as Christians], many regretted their conversions. A Jewish doctor in Soria in 1491 recalled an old converso who "told him, weeping how much he repented having turned Christian." Speaking of another converso, the doctor said, "he believed in neither the Christian nor the Jewish faith." 59
There also was confusion due to cultural inertia, which may or may not have been innocent theologically. The Old Christians noticed "vestigial Jewish practices in matters of family habits and cuisine, residual Jewish culture in vocabulary, kinship links between Jews and conversos. These remnants were identifiably Jewish." 60 Many commentators maintain such cultural behavior did not constitute "evidence of judaizing." The same commentators argue the
converso danger ... was invented to justify spoliation of conversos. The harvest of heretics reaped by the early Inquisition owed its success to deliberate falsification or to the completely indiscriminate way in which residual Jewish customs were interpreted as being heretical. Though it can certainly be identified in the period after the forced conversions of 1492, there was no systematic "converso religion" in the 1480s to justify the creation of an Inquisition. Much of the evidence for judaizing was thin, if not false. 61
Jones does not necessarily accept those arguments, and neither should we. He continues:
On the other hand, the reaction to the arrival of the Inquisition in Seville, indicates that more than dietary issues were at stake. Diego de Susan, a Seville rabbi who had amassed a fortune, delivered a fiery speech urging Jews and conversos to "recruit faithful men, collect a store of arms, and that the first arrest by the Inquistors should be the signal of a rising in which the inquisitors should be slain and thus an emphatic warning be given to deter others from renewing the attempt." 62 Susan's daughter, "whose loveliness had won for her the name of Fermosa Fembra," [meaning ‘beautiful woman’] 63 revealed the details of the intrigue to her lover, who informed the Inquisition the plot was afoot. When Susan was arrested, panic seized the conversos and many fled, some to Rome.
When the first auto da fe [a term which means act of faith and was used to describe a public penance] was celebrated in Seville, on February 6, 1481, Diego de Susan was one of six burned at the stake. Bernaldez, who was in Seville then, claimed the rabbi died as a Christian. Seven hundred conversos accused by the Inquisition of heresy in Seville in 1481 abjured and were reconciled to the church. "There was no longer any doubt in the minds of the secret Jews that the Queen was as earnest about this affair as she had been about the murders and lootings she had punished." 64 As a result, panic spread through Spain and resistance to government authority ceased. The Inquisition claimed the lives of three of the wealthiest and most important citizens of Seville, including Susan. Fray Alonso de Hojeda preached the sermon at the ceremony; he too died a few days later, from the plague, which claimed 15,000 people in Seville. [We may rather cynically be led to believe that the deaths from the plague were somehow due to the increased contact with Jews.}
The Inquisition began with an Edict of Grace, during which those suspected of Judaizing had time to come forward, confess their sins, be absolved, and then reconcile to the Church after performing suitable penance. The Inquisition insisted on capital punishment only if the heretic refused to recant or if he were caught at least three times in backsliding, an indication of bad faith and duplicity. Walsh insists "never in its entire history" did the Holy Office
proceed against the Jews, either on racial grounds as Jews, or on religious grounds as members of the synagogue. Far from attacking the Law of Moses, it defended that revelation against certain sects of heretics, as an essential part of Catholic truth. Over the Jew as Jew it claimed no jurisdiction. It was a Christian tribunal, which concerned itself with Jews only when they were Christians, or when they went out of their way to commit offenses against Christians, either by deriding Christian beliefs or ceremonies, or by persuading Christians to give up the Faith. 65
And here we witness the confusion which is caused, and how the Jews benefit by that confusion, whenever they are confused for the actual people of the Old Testament. Through an acceptance of the false claims of their identity, they are forever able to subvert Christian nations and kingdoms. Jones then writes that:
Walsh claims the Jews actively sought to bring conversos back to Judaism, and the fact that Jews
scattered throughout Christendom carried on a continuous and effective propaganda which, while it persisted, was bound to make impossible the complete Christianizing of society, is freely admitted by Jewish scholars, as I have taken note elsewhere. "As a whole," says I. Abrahams, "heresy was a reversion to Old Testament and even Jewish ideals. It is indubitable that the heretical doctrines of the southern French Albigenses in the beginning of the Thirteenth Century, as of the Hussites in the Fifteenth, were largely the result of friendly intercourse between Christians and Jews.'' 66
So Jones perpetuates the false claims of Jewish Identity by accepting the statements of Jews who assert that identity. But the Jews are not the Hebrews or even the Israelites of the Old Testament.
Here we also believe that Jones gives the Jews credit where it is not due, and of course the Jews have again taken credit which they did not earn. Huss was a follower of Wycliffe, and both men were correct on many of their positions concerning Scripture, where the organized Church had gone wrong. However the jews did very successfully exploit the resulting divisions. Continuing with Jones:
The Jews, as the disputations over the Talmud showed, were no longer following the law of Moses. [But actually they had never followed the law of Moses, as the New Testament demonstrates.] The Talmud had absorbed the Torah and turned the Jews into a permanent fifth column in Christian culture, agitating for revolution when they were powerful enough or for subversion when they were not. "If the Jews had confined their activities to the synagogue and their allegiance to the Law of Moses," Walsh says, "a great deal of conflict and even bloodshed might have been avoided. Unfortunately, during their dispersion, under all the incredible sufferings and affronts they endured in country after country, they supplemented the revealed teachings of the Torah with others which, judging by their fruits, had a source quite other than the tables of Mount Sinai." 67 If Judaism could not survive without the Talmud, as the Jews maintained in France when it was taken away by Louis IX, then the Jews were involved in perpetual war against Christendom, because "the Jews included in the Talmud and Talmudic books many obscene and blasphemous anecdotes concerning Christ and His Church, together with curses and imprecations against Christians, and bits of practical advice for outwitting and exploiting them." 68 Jewish denial only made their stance seem more subversive.
While Jones and Walsh do well to point out the true Jewish nature and its reflection in the Talmud, they fail to notice what history proves: that the people known as Jews are not the Israelites of old. So rather than the Talmud having absorbed the Torah, in fact the writers of the Talmud expropriated the Torah and have used it to perpetrate a masquerade: a grand act of Jewish identity theft which began during another forced conversion, in the 2nd century BC when John Hyrcanus faced the same problems that Medieval Spain faced, and he also thought they could be resolved by forcing all of the Edomites and Canaanites of ancient Judaea into the then-White and pre-Christian religion of Judaism. From the time of Herod, the Edomites took over the Kingdom, and have ever since operated as criminals under the mask of the Old Testament. The story is told in the pages of both Flavius Josephus and in the New Testament, but Jones, Walsh, and many other historians have missed it because they blindly accept the assertions of the Jews.
In ancient times, Edomites became Jews, and the Kingdom of God was subverted. In modern times, Jews became Christians, and then infiltrated and corrupted Christianity into secularism so that once again they can coexist as parasites among them, and the Kingdom of God is subverted once again. Returning to Jones:
Once the true nature of Judaism became clear in the 13th Century, both Church and State had a duty to make war on it, in some way. The only question was what kind of war. Saints like Vincent Ferrer, who felt that the only legitimate way to destroy an enemy was by making him into a friend, answered that question. [With a very wrong answer!] Jews were subjected to persuasion as the prelude to conversion. Once the Jewish penchant for subversion and revolution became bound up with Spain's struggle with the Moors and its very existence as a nation, the spiritual program was politicized and physical force took the place of spiritual suasion. That paved the way for the ascendancy of another type of Jew, the opportunist, who was "compelled, at the sword's point, or under the sickening fear of social and economic ostracization, to accept baptism" and who would wreak havoc for centuries to come. 69 Wicked Christians wrongly forced Jews to the baptismal font, but it was also wrong of the Jews to convert under duress to a religion they believed false. [We would agree that only wicked Christians would force Jews to convert, but not because of what that does to Jews. Rather, they are wicked for what they would be doing to Christians by converting Jews!] Their acceptance of forced conversion deepened the Jewish commitment to subversion and revolution when the self-loathing became common and psychologically intolerable. Unlike the rabbis, the Catholic Church told its faithful to die as martyrs rather than accept Islam or any other false religion. The command was so absolute that when a Jew accepted the Catholic faith, he was presumed to have done so of his own free will. Any backsliding would be punished as heresy, especially since Judaizing was one of the most common and recurrent heresies. Worse was promoting backsliding in others. If it was a capital crime to deprive a man of his life, was not deprivation of a man's spiritual life equally grave? The logic was extended to justify torture in the bull Ad Extirpanda: just "as thieves and robbers of temporal goods are forced to accuse their accomplices and to tell what crimes they have committed; for these are truly robbers and homicides of souls, and thieves of the sacraments of God, and of the Christian Faith.'' 70
Christ never tried to convert the Jews. Rather, He told them in John chapter 10: “26 But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you.” Foretelling the coming destruction of Jerusalem, Christ then said in Luke chapter 21: “22 For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled. 23 But woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck, in those days! for there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people. 24 And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the nations, until the times of the nations be fulfilled.” There is also a prophecy in Jeremiah concerning Jerusalem, that it would be as a broken bottle never to be made whole again, and concerning the bad figs of Jerusalem, that they would be driven into all kingdoms to be a reproach and a proverb, a taunt and a curse (Jeremiah chapters 19 and 24). This is how all Christians should always look at Jews, as a taunt and a reproach and a curse. Therefore there is no rehabilitation for the Jew, and all Christians should have realized that. Jones continues:
The logic of force eventually turned Vincent Ferrer's conversion campaign upside down. The Inquisition, especially in its more severe later stages, forced Jews and conversos to rethink their position. If the wave of conversions under Ferrer drove the Jews apart, the Inquisition drove them back together. If laws had given too much incentive for conversion, promoting opportunism for social and economic gain, the Inquisition, which punished only conversos, and which punished them more and more severely, provided incentives for reversion, for the Inquisition had no jurisdiction over Jews.
"While the object of the Inquisition was to secure the unity of faith," Lea [Henry Charles Lea, the American historian whom Jones has quoted elsewhere and whom we cited at length earlier this evening, (Lea)] tells us, "its founding destroyed the hope that ultimately the Jews would be gathered into the fold of Christ .... the awful spectacle of the autos de fe and the miseries attendant on wholesale confiscations led the Jew to cherish more resolutely than ever the ancestral faith which served him as a shield from the terrors of the Holy Office and the dreadful fate even impending over the Conversos." 71 Kamen comments [British historian Henry Kamen, who was of mixed British, Irish, Burmese and Nepalese descent]:
The reign of terror had an inevitable consequence. Conversos ceased to come forward to admit their errors. Instead, they were forced to take refuge in the very beliefs and practices that they and their parents had turned their backs on. Active Judaism, which existed among some conversos, seems to have been caused primarily by the awakening of their consciousness under persecution. Under pressure, they reverted to the faith of their ancestors. A Jewish lady living in Siguenza was surprised in 1488 to encounter a man whom she had known previously in Valladolid as a Christian. He now professed to be a Jew, and was begging for charity among the Jews. "What are you doing over here?" she asked him. "The Inquisition is around and will burn you." He answered: "I want to go to Portugal.'" After no doubt equivocating for many years, he had made his decision and was going to risk all for it. 72
These assessments of the plight of the conversos seem disingenuous, looking to make excuses by which to pity the Jews. If their conversions were sincere, they would have been living as Christians, and living as Christians, they would have nothing to fear from the Inquisition. Jones already has demonstrated that the conversions were rarely sincere, where he only held up a few examples of what he could consider as sincere conversions. We may doubt even those few examples. Continuing with Jones:
In May 1482, the Edict of Grace was announced in Valencia. All who wished to confess their sins would be received in private. According to the Andalusian priest-historian Andres Bernaldez, "most of those who 'repented' and were 'reconciled' with the Church did so as a means of being able to practice the Jewish rites in secret, as they had previously done." According to Bernaldez "the confessions made by the conversos of Seville show that all of them were Jews; and from their statements a similar inference can be drawn in regard to the conversos of Cordova, Toledo, Burgos, Segovia, and all the rest of Spain." 73 All, continues Bernaldez, "were Jews and clung to their hope, like the Israelites in Egypt, who suffered many blows at the hands of the Egyptians and yet believed that God would lead them out from the midst of them as He did with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. So, too, the conversos looked upon the Christians as Egyptians or worse." 74
Of course Bernaldez also wrongly assumed that the Jews were the Old Testament Israelites. But if the Israelites were Jews, the Torah would be no different than the Talmud, Eve would have remained married to the serpent, Sodom and Gomorrah would never have been incinerated, the angels would have gladly consorted with the Sodomites, and Joshua would have invaded Canaan with pencils instead of swords.
As the Inquisition spread through Spain, the severity of the punishments increased, while legal safeguards fell by the wayside. When many conversos escaped to Rome, the pope heard their story first hand. Sixtus IV concluded their complaints were well-founded and that his intervention was necessary. In early 1482, the pope informed the royal couple that the Inquisition had gone "far beyond what he had authorized." 75 In August 1483, he sent letters of absolution to the accused conversos.
In May, Ferdinand rebuked Rome, warning the pope not to interfere in what had become a state operation. The outcome would be satisfactory only if the king, who understood the situation in Spain much better than the pope, appointed the inquisitors. The king reminded the pope that the Inquisition had been ineffective in eradicating heresy when under papal control. The Inquisition could only exist with power delegated from the pope, but once on Spanish soil, it became a function of the state. Ferdinand and Isabella jealously guarded their control over it, telling the pope to mind his own business.
In 1483, the conflict intensified. Despite the pope's letters of absolution, Seville expelled all Jews. "There can be no question," Baer tells us, "that the Inquisitors had the last word in deciding on the expulsion of the Jews from Andalusia.'' 76 At the end of that year, Tomas de Torquemada, the Dominican prior and confessor to the queen, was appointed grand inquisitor for all of Spain. The record of the Inquisition would prove erratic: "In some instances the tribunal proceeded in an orderly and moderate manner, while in others the methods employed were more like brutal assaults by soldiers than the conduct of a court of justice" with the latter approach becoming more prevalent over time. "Large commercial centers like Seville and Barcelona," Baer says, "were totally ruined by the Inquisition.'' 77
Toward the end of 1483, the Inquisition arrived in Ciudad Real. Following the traditional Edict of Grace, the first auto da fe took place on November 16, 1483; many abjured, and no one was burned. However, in February 1484, 34 persons were burned at the stake, among them Maria Gonzales, who "at first denied that she was a Jewess at heart,'' 78 but then confessed. Baer supports the judgment of the Inquisition: "Had she been allowed to live, she would certainly have been steadfast in her Jewish faith. This was true of most of the conversos of Ciudad Real.'' 79 In Guadalupe, a woman confessed she had eaten meat in her home on Good Friday. She also confessed "when her husband brought home a crucifix she trampled on it and threw it down the privy." 80 This woman admitted her guilt after her own daughter testified against her. Threatened with torture, she implicated others. The same Inquisition at Guadalupe revealed "conversos had been entering monasteries so as to be able to practice the Jewish Religion with greater safety." 81
When the Inquisition arrived in Toledo in May 1485, the local conversos organized a revolt. The conspirators planned to assassinate the inquisitors "and the whole Christian population" 82 during the Corpus Christi processions, but the plot was discovered. The mayor of Toledo then had several conversos arrested and hanged. The Inquisition also brought out the worst in Jews, who used the trials to settle old scores. Many Jews were accused of bearing false witness against the conversos and sentenced to death by stoning. The first auto da fe in Toledo took place in February 1486, when 750 men and women from seven parishes were led through the streets and sentenced to various penances. In August, 27 conversos were burned at the stake. Between 1486 and 1490, 4,850 conversos were reconciled to the Church and 112 were burned at the stake. Baer says the number absolved far exceeded the number condemned because "the Christians of Toledo who demanded the utmost possible toleration of the conversos were very influential.… the clemency shown them can have been dictated only by political considerations. The conversos wielded very considerable influence; they were an essential element of the population, and the confiscated part of their fortunes could be used without annihilating the conversos themselves." 83 According to Baer, "The conversos of Teruel doubtless deserved their "ill repute" as Jews-in-fact. "It is obvious, that alongside the Jewish community of Teruel, there was a community of conversos who assembled for public worship, Bible readings, and the like. Most of them were descendants of Jews converted during the years 1391-1415." 84
In 1485, the Inquisition came to Saragossa, and, as in Seville and Toledo, the Judaizers and their supporters conspired to kill the Inquisitors and terrorize their potential successors into inactivity. The plot included a plan to drown the Inquisition's assessor as he walked beside the Ebro River, but the assessor never walked alone, so the plotters focused next on Peter Arbues. The government knew something was afoot as early as January, but did nothing. Late in the evening of September 15, the conspirators attacked Arbues as he prayed in the cathedral. Arbues was aware of the threat to his life: he was wearing chain mail and a steel helmet; his spear was leaning against a nearby pillar. The mortally wounded Arbues prayed for 24 hours before dying on September 17. Miracles soon followed. The holy bell of Villela tolled of its own accord; the crowds mopped up his blood and worked wonders with it. [I can only imagine that the miracles were claimed as a means to incite the people against the murderers.]
The consequences for the conversos were disastrous. The miracles attested to Arbues' sanctity, and the reaction to the murder broke the opposition to the Inquisition. In the revulsion to the murder, legal niceties were discarded, and the punishment and tortures knew no restraint. This murder turned the tide, which hitherto had been markedly hostile to the Inquisition. The news of the assassination spread through the city with marvelous rapidity and before dawn the streets were filled with excited crowds shouting, "Burn the Conversos who have slain the Inquisitor." It was probably in consequence of the murder that Ferdinand and Isabella succeeded in obtaining from Innocent VIII papal letters of April 3, 1487, ordering all princes and rulers and magistrates to seize and deliver to the Inquisition of Spain all fugitives who should be designated to them, thus extending its arms everywhere throughout Christendom and practically outlawing all refugees. 85
The murder of Peter Arbues "annihilated all opposition to the Inquisition for the next hundred years" 86 so effectively that some historians speculate the murder may have been arranged by the crown, although there is no evidence of this. No matter, the murder played into Ferdinand's hand in his attempt to end the chaos and defeat the Moors. In 1488 he issued instructions reforming the procedure of the Inquisitors. "Thus," Baer concludes, "the last and most daring attempt by the conversos to resist the Inquisition by force ended in failure." 87 Most of the murder suspects were conversos and or others whose Jewish leanings were publicly known. In August 1487, the main conspirator, Jaime de Montesa, was executed after he confessed. He was a typical free-thinking Marrano skeptic, reported to have repeatedly quoted the saying, "In this world you will not see me in trouble, and in another world you will not see me in torment." 88 After Montesa's death, more and more conversos were implicated in Judaizing, including advisors to the royal couple. "In essence," Baer concludes, "the Inquisition was correct in its reading of the conversos' attitudes." Baer cites the Coplas de Mingo Revulgo of Diego Arias de Avila, in which conversos are portrayed as a group which "trample the Christians underfoot, and plunge them into debt and enslave them in all manner of servitude so that the Christians groan under so much robbery and spoliation." Torture played a role in these confessions.
Now the Jews do these same things openly and without fear of persecution. They “trample the Christians underfoot, and plunge them into debt and enslave them in all manner of servitude” as a routine part of modern Society. The Inquisition moved the Jews to Holland, England and Germany, and the Jews have staved off punishment ever since by keeping the Christian world divided against itself.
Note that Jones has been quoting the very candid Jewish historian Baer. But Baer seems to be candid not because he is honest, but rather, because he is a proud Jew defending other Jews who he imagines were also as proud. Returning to Jones:
The inquisitors usually proceeded with some respect for rules of law and justice, demonstrating facts that were unquestionably correct and refraining from malicious libels. In the fury following the murder of Peter Arbues, legal niceties fell by the wayside and the classical slanders-the Jews caused the plague, engaged in ritual sacrifice, etc.-made their way into the Inquisition's proceedings. In December, 1490, Yuce Franco was tried for attempting to bring conversos back to Judaism and for crucifying a Christian child on Good Friday. The conspirators allegedly were going to use the child's heart and a consecrated host in a magic spell to kill Christians by infecting them with rabies. Franco denied the charges. Torquemada removed him from the jurisdiction of the Inquisition and appointed special judges, leading Baer to conclude his goal was "the complete extermination of Spanish Jewry." 89
When the victorious Spanish army marched into Malaga after the successful campaign to drive the Moors from Spain, they found 400 Jews living there. Virtually all were Judaized Christians who had fled the Inquisition from Spain to Granada, where they had reverted to Judaism. The apostates were ordered to decide whether they wanted to live completely as Christians or leave the country. Shortly after the royal couple entered Granada, they extended that option to all of Spain's Jews. On March 31, 1492, while still in Grenada, Ferdinand and Isabella signed the edict expelling the Jews from the kingdoms of Castile and Aragon. As before, Jews could convert and remain, but the Inquisition had removed much of the incentive to convert. Large numbers chose to leave. Their experience in Granada convinced the monarchs that a total separation was the only solution to the Jewish problem they identified. By exporting a problem they could not solve, Ferdinand and Isabella saved Spain from the fate of Poland. Northern Europe, though, inherited Spain's problem, and cities like Antwerp became hotbeds of revolutionary activity.
The expulsion of the Jews and rabbinical justification for false conversion established the cultural matrix from which the revolutionary Jew emerged. If a Talmudic Jew could profess an idolatrous false religion in public and remain a Jew in good standing, then he simply could not be trusted, and the anti-Semites were right to view him as a dangerous subversive who threatened Church and State. Forced conversion was wrong, but the acceptance of it was also wrong. Worse still, acceptance of insincere conversion enshrined the principle of deception and subversion as part of Jewish life. The Jew, according to the principles of the Old Testament from Moses to the Maccabees, had a duty to resist idolatry and incorporation into idolatrous religions to the point of death. The Talmudic teaching that condoned false conversion broke radically from Moses' teaching. The insincere Jewish converts to Christianity made subversion and deceit a way of life.
The children of the devil, once their true nature is discovered, have no choice but to react as subversive revolutionaries, when they would rather practice their warfare against Christians through quiet deception. Jones once again falls short of an entirely correct conclusion because he misidentifies the Jew. The acceptance of the Old Testament Messiah cannot be quantified as idolatry, and the rejection of the Old Testament Messiah reveals “those who say they are Judaeans, and are not, but are of the synagogue of Satan”. Of course, Jones follows the Roman Catholic Church in this error, which is basically a failure to believe the Scriptures, and an acceptance of Jewish claims contrary to Scripture.
Converso behavior and worldview were similar to that of other disaffected European Catholics. The German monks who violated their vows of celibacy with impunity led double lives too; living a lie created animosity toward the institution to which they had made vows they would not fulfill. The first Lutherans and the first Calvinists were virtually indistinguishable from each other and from the conversos in theology and practice. Both movements drew their leadership from the sexually corrupt lower Catholic clergy. Calvin's lieutenant, the erstwhile Catholic, Theodore Beza was, says Walsh,
a glaring example of the too-common corruption. Though not even a priest, he enjoys the incomes of two benefices, through political influence, lavishes the Church's money on his concubine, and generally leads a vicious and dissolute life. When the Church is under attack, he hastens to join the enemy. As Calvin's lieutenant, this righteous man thunders against the [corruption of the] Old Church, of which he was partly the cause. 90
Beza's example was not uncommon. The monasteries of Europe were full of monks leading double lives. Spain was no exception:
There is no doubt about the laxity of the monasteries of Seville and Valladolid, whose members embraced Protestantism; nor of the degeneracy of the Augustinians in Saxony, who broke away from the Church almost en masse in 1521. In England it was the reformed Observatine Franciscans who withstood Henry VIII even to death, while the relaxed Conventuals and other badly disciplined monks and priests formed the nucleus of the Church of England. The first Protestants, as a rule, were bad Catholics. 91
While the Jews certainly took advantage of the divisions among Christians in the late Middle Ages, many of the grievances which Christians had with the Catholic Church were legitimate. And while many of the humanists in the Church were immoral men, the Roman Catholic Church demands for clerical celibacy are unscriptural, contrary to the natural order of God’s Creation, contrary to the doctrines of the apostles, and actually foster immorality themselves. In 1 Corinthians chapter 7, Paul of Tarsus advises that having a wife is the proper preventative to fornication. In the epistles to Timothy, servants of the Church are commanded to have wives. The arrogance of the Catholic Church is that it believes it can overcome the natural order, by baptizing Jews into Christians and by demanding celibacy of men. Back to Jones:
The Spanish expulsions began in May, 1492. The Jews had to sell their property for a song, even though "instructions were issued to all the localities to pay the Jews all that was owed to them, and to enable them to pay their own debts and to dispose of their possessions on fair and equitable terms." 92 Torquemada forbade Christians from aiding the departing Jews after August 9. No Christian was allowed to communicate with the Jews or give them food or shelter. The Jews were not allowed to sell their synagogues; the property that they could sell was devalued because so many were selling to meet the expulsion deadline imposed by the crown. Bernaldez chronicled the sufferings of the Jews; he also cites a converso woman from Almazan, who claimed years later "those who remained behind did so in order not to lose their property.'' 93
In the fateful year 1492, Rodrigo Borgia ascended the papal throne and took the name Alexander VI. Pope Alexander contravened papal tradition by banning conversos from the Dominican order in Spain. In Rome he amended the proceedings of the Roman Carnival by extending the traditional footrace of the Roman Jews. But Jews could always expect a friendly reception in Rome and throughout the Papal States, and many Jews went there after the expulsion. Alexander did his part by hiring Jewish physicians.
The Inquisition and the expulsion undid the work of St. Vincent Ferrer. Jews were convinced conversion was or would be a mistake. After the Edict of Expulsion was announced, the clergy launched a conversion campaign, but the incentives were gone. There were few conversions, and most Jews left. Most went to Portugal, from whence they were expelled a few years later. Many went to Turkey, which received them with open arms. It was out of the Ladino community in Ismir that the false Messiah Shabbetai Zevi would arise 150 years later, buoyed by the writings of the Lurianic Kabballah, whose school had been established in Gaza as a result of the expulsions.
On July 31, 1492, the last Jew left Spain. In 1494, Alexander VI granted Ferdinand and Isabella the title of Catholic Kings, listing the expulsion of the Jews as one of their accomplishments. Gian Pico della Mirandola praised them for it too. Guicciardini, the Florentine historian and statesman, praised them as well. The expulsion of the Jews along with the defeat of the Moors had united Spain and "raised it to the rank of a great power." When Spain was in the hands of Jews and heretics it had been in anarchy. Guicciardini concluded "had the situation not been corrected, Spain would in a few years have forsaken the Catholic religion." 94
We mustn’t forget that, according to the narrative, there were thousands of Jews by race who managed to stay in Spain as converts, so the lines between wheat and tares were not redrawn as clearly as we may imagine.
Of course, 1492 was also the year that Columbus supposedly discovered America. But Northern Europeans had already known about America for many centuries, and it is plausible that the Portuguese seamen and Jewish merchants had also already known about it, but had simply not publicized the knowledge for fear of competition. Many Jews would end up fleeing to America in search of a new haven and a new base for their criminal enterprises. It is not a mistake that, for instance, Brazil was named for its iron ore, which is barzel in Hebrew, or that aruba in Hebrew describes a trading emporium, and other similar names exist as well.
But the Jewish expulsion from Spain forced the relocation of many Jews to Holland and Germany as well as Italy and elsewhere, and one correct premise of Jones’ book is the resulting spread of subversion and revolutionary activity which the Jews brought with them wherever they went. And where the Jews did not start their own revolutions, they took every opportunity to turn events to their own advantage.