Defending the Catholic Faith or Spreading Intolerance? The Sermon delivered during auto-da-fé in 17th-century Portugal as an Example of Anti-Jewish Literature
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One of the activities of the Inquisition most visible to ordinary people was called the auto-da-fé – a public confession of faith. Such ceremonies, held by the Inquisition Tribunal, were composed of several parts. One of the most significant parts of the ceremony was the sermon. Many of these sermons seemingly focused on Jewish issues, even if only a few of the condemned were accused of converting to Judaism. To whom, and for what purpose, were the sermons addressed? What were their character, role, and impact on society? Can we interpret them as a typical example of anti-Jewish literature, and a specific “invitation to intolerance”? This article aims to outline the subject matter of the sermons delivered during the auto-da-fé ceremony in Portugal, particularly their anti-Jewish aspect. Reference is made to texts of ten sermons made during autosda-fé held in the three biggest centers of 17th-century Inquisition activity in Portugal (Lisbon, Coimbra and Évora), as well as the colony of Goa.
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