Yerushalmi and the Conversos

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3 Scopus citations


In his work on Iberian Jews-openly practicing ones and conversos, on and off the peninsula, before 1492 and 1497 and after-Yosef Hayim Yerushalmi made few explicit methodological statements. But from his earliest work, he made his historiosophical commitments clear and rarely wavered from them. Those commitments included basic trust in inquisitorial sources, the investigation of both marginal and normative Jewish practices, interest in the history of mentalities, and, above all, a focus on the relationship between "immanent" and external causes in Jewish history. This article traces the influence of several mid-twentieth-century historians on Yerushalmi's work and examines his place in twentieth-century debates on conversos and the Inquisition; it also discusses his relationship to microhistory and the problem of historical distance and perspective. The article concludes by considering the apparent contradiction between Yerushalmi's emphasis on the agency and subjectivity of Jews and his trust in the records of an institution that some have characterized as pervasively anti-Jewish.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11-49
Number of pages39
JournalJewish History
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2014
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cultural Studies
  • History


  • Carlo Ginzburg
  • Conversos
  • Iberian history
  • Inquisition
  • Jewish historiography
  • Marranos
  • Sephardim
  • Yosef Hayim Yerushalmi


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