F306 Winter 2020 History of the Jews of Spain
Thursdays, 11:50–1:15, Jan. 30–Feb. 20
Instructor: Jeffrey Gorsky
The thousand-year history of Jews in Spain, a dramatic chronicle of power and influence, of the horrors of the Inquisition, and finally of the Expulsion will be covered in this course. After almost a millennium of harmonious existence, what had been the most populous and prosperous Jewish community in Europe ceased to exist on the Iberian Peninsula. It was a community that flourished under both Muslim and Christian rule, enjoying prosperity and power unsurpassed in Europe. But it also endured considerable hardship. Fundamentalist Islamic tribes drove Jews from Muslim to Christian Spain. In 1391, thousands were killed in waves of massacres throughout Spain, and more than a third of the Jewish population were forced to convert by anti-Jewish rioters. A century later, the Spanish Inquisition began, accusing thousands of these converts of heresy. By the end of the 15th century, Jews had been expelled from Spain and forcibly converted in Portugal and Navarre.
Jeffrey Gorsky is a lawyer and retired official at the US Department of State, where he worked as the US vice-consul in Bilbao, Spain, and as an Iberian intelligence analyst. He is a nationally recognized expert in immigration law, and works as senior counsel at an immigration law firm.