Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Steven F. Kruger (Professor of English, Queens College and CUNY Graduate Center)
The Rossell Hope Robbins Memorial Lecture 
"Conversion on the Ground: Christians, Jews, and Conversos in the Crown of Aragon, 1412-1416"
April 4th
English Studies Conference Room of the Graduate Center, CUNY (Room 4406)

A wine and cheese reception will follow the presentation and question time

The Tortosa Disputation of 1413-14 was a public confrontation between Christians and Jews staged by Pope Benedict XIII, the “antipope” who had been expelled from Avignon, but who still claimed the papacy and the loyalty of the Christians of Iberia and of Scotland. Tortosa has been consistently considered a crucial turning point in Christian-Jewish relations, a moment at which the pressure for Jews to abandon their Jewishness was greatly intensified. Certainly, it was a moment in which much Jewish conversion occurred. And yet, much remains murky about the actual dynamics between and among Christians, Jews, and conversos at this crucial juncture. “Conversion on the Ground” attempts a closer, thicker description of this moment by reflecting on the rich materials that document the interreligious interactions at and around Tortosa: a Latin and a partial Hebrew transcript of the disputation itself; the Hebrew and Latin writings of Geronimo de Santa Fe, the main Christian disputant at Tortosa and himself a Jewish convert to Christianity; the later philosophical work of one of the Jewish disputants at Tortosa, Joseph Albo; documents from the Archive of the Crown of Aragon that give us snapshots of the interactions between conversos, Jews, and Christians at just this moment, including some of the players at the Disputation of Tortosa itself. 
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