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(9,373 words)

Author(s): Larsen, Kevin S.
The term “conversos”—“converts” in Spanish—refers generally to those Sephardic Jews who accepted baptism, whether voluntarily or under duress, mostly from the great persecutions of 1391, and into the fifteenth century. There were, however, numerous other conversions, whether volitional or otherwise, individual or en masse, from at least the seventh century c.e., under the Visigothic monarchies, through the expulsion from Spain in 1492, and from Portugal in 1497, and even into succeeding centuries in Iberia and the Iberian world. A parallel expr…

Mormonism and Judaism

(10,117 words)

Author(s): Larsen, Kevin S.
The Mormons are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, organized in New York State in 1830. They take their nickname from the Book of Mormon, translated by Joseph Smith, Jr., the founder of the Church, and edited originally, they assert, by an ancient American prophet, Mormon, who was of Hebrew descent. The Church states that it also believes the Bible “to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly.” These statements come from the eighth of thirteen Articles of …

Sephardic Judaism

(8,015 words)

Author(s): Larsen, Kevin S.
At least since the first century c.e., Jews have lived in Iberia. These people, the Sephardim, took their name from Sepharad, what they called the Peninsula on which they made their home for the centuries to come. Their provenance, both temporal and geographical, remains a subject of debate. Some prominent Sephardic families claim their ancestors were in the lands that became Spain and Portugal since the Babylonian captivity, at the time of the destruction of the first Temple. Whether these ancestors …