Compare And Contrast Essay: The Spanish Inquisition

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In 1478, the Spanish Inquisition was instituted. During this time, Ferdinand of Aragon and Isabella of Castile were the rulers of Spain. Many historians believed that the Inquisition was a manifestation of extreme religious anti semitism, but contrary to popular belief heresy was most of the time falsely accused onto converts nor were the Jews its main focus. Rather, the Inquisition regarded Jewish converts to Christianity, conversos. Both Norman Roth’s and Stephen H. Haliczer’s thesis’s, state their opinion as to why the Inquisition was instituted. They both believe different things about why hatred towards the Jews originally started, which led to Jewish conversions and the Inquisition itself.

Stephen H. Haliczer believes that the original hatred towards the Jews began because of the way the Jews were living. Prior to the time of the Inquisition, there were multiple urban oligarchies who came into conflict with the Jews. Because the Jews were independent and were not under the control of the oligarchies even though they lived within their regions, hostility towards them arose. The alliance between Ferdinand and Isabella, and these urban oligarchies allowed them to fix the problem they had with the Jews. In return for the abundant amount of military supplies supplied by the oligarchies given to Spain, Ferdinand
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This source is consistent with Roth’s thesis that the Jews were targeted because of their high stature in society. As anti Jewish laws like these were passed, more Jews converted and were then able to become church officials and hold high positions of power. Roth uses the example of two conversos-Pablo de Santa Maria, and his son Alfonso, who both became bishops after converting to Christianity from Judaism to maintain their high positions in Spain
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