Caras de España y de la Diáspora sefardita
Gursel Sevin, Tugba
1492 is an important date in world history because it is the year that changed the fate of the Jews of the Iberian Peninsula. Following the Edict of Expulsion imposed by King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain, Jews who refused to convert to Catholicism sought refuge in diverse countries of Europe and North Africa, leaving behind their homeland in order to preserve their Jewish faith and cultural heritage. Those expelled Jews were called Sephardic Jews. Another group, those who could not leave behind their memories, remained in Spain, changing their faith and thus becoming conversos (converts). “Caras de España y de la Diáspora sefardita” explores the life of the Spanish Jews in socio-cultural, literary, and historical contexts before and after their expulsion, in Spain and in the Sephardic Diaspora. I argue that conversos and the Sephardic Jews in the Diaspora were part of completely opposite realities and social perceptions. Converts continued to be part of the anti-Semitic perceptions that originated during the medieval era and escalated in the fourteenth century and after. On the other hand, Sephardic Jews, away from social prejudices, often expressed themselves freely in cultural and literary environments. This dissertation studies these two realities in complete juxtaposition from different perspectives (i.e., faces, or caras): perception of the conversos in Spanish society, Sephardic Jews in Ottoman lands, and the conversos within Spain. I reconsider literature as the reflection of social perceptions and personal opinions. To offer a better portrait of this tragic and historical event, I refer to various texts of Spanish and Sephardic literature: La vara de Yehudah (Selomoh ibn Verga), Crónica de los Reyes otomanos (Moses ben Baruch Almosnino), El viaje de Turquía (Cristóbal de Villalón), Las paces de los reyes y judía de Toledo, El niño inocente de la Guardía (Lope de Vega), and El Diablo cojuelo (Luis Vélez de Guevara).