PDF From Christianity to Judaism
Isaac Orobio de Castro, a crypto-Jew from Portugal, was one of the most prominent intellectual figures of the Sephardi Diaspora in the 17th century. After studying medicine and theology in Spain and pursuing a distinguished medical career, he was arrested by the Spanish Inquisition for practicing Judaism, tortured, tried, and imprisoned. He later emigrated to France and became a professor of medicine at Toulouse before openly professing his Judaism and going to Amsterdam to join the thriving Portuguese community there. Amsterdam was then a city of great cultural creativity and religious pluralism. In this atmosphere Orobio flourished, and went on to become an outstanding spokesman and apologist for the Jewish community. This fascinating biography sheds light on the intricate life of a unique Jewish community of former Christians who had openly returned to Judaism. It focuses on the particular dilemmas of the converts, their attempts to establish boundaries between their Christian past and their new identity, their internal conflicts, and their ability to create new forms of Jewish life and expression.
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