We cannot verify your location
Browse Book and Journal Content on Project MUSE

After Expulsion

1492 and the Making of Sephardic Jewry

Jonathan S. Ray

Publication Year: 2013

On August 3, 1492, the same day that Columbus set sail from Spain, the long and glorious history of that nation’s Jewish community officially came to a close. The expulsion of Europe’s last major Jewish community ended more than a thousand years of unparalleled prosperity, cultural vitality and intellectual productivity. Yet, the crisis of 1492 also gave rise to a dynamic and resilient diaspora society spanning East and West.
After Expulsion traces the various paths of migration and resettlement of Sephardic Jews and Conversos over the course of the tumultuous sixteenth century. Pivotally, the volume argues that the exiles did not become “Sephardic Jews” overnight. Only in the second and third generation did these disparate groups coalesce and adopt a “Sephardic Jewish” identity.
After Expulsion presents a new and fascinating portrait of Jewish society in transition from the medieval to the early modern period, a portrait that challenges many longstanding assumptions about the differences between Europe and the Middle East.

Published by: NYU Press

Title Page, Copyright Page

pdf iconDownload PDF (68.7 KB)
pp. 2-7


pdf iconDownload PDF (76.9 KB)
pp. vii-9

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (43.6 KB)
pp. ix-x

This book could not have been completed without the efforts of a great many people. Since coming to Georgetown University in 2006, I have benefited from the support of many sectors of the university. These include several generous grants from the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, the vital...

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (92.8 KB)
pp. 1-10

Of the many calamities to befall the Jewish people during their arduous passage from the medieval to the modern world, none was more sharply felt or more widely chronicled by its contemporaries than the Expulsion of the Jews from Spain in 1492. The last in a long line of similar expulsions in medieval...

read more

1. Medieval Inheritance

pdf iconDownload PDF (151.3 KB)
pp. 11-32

The anno mirabilis of 1492 stands as one of the clearest and most decisive limits between historical epochs. In the span of six months, from January to August of that year, a series of events took place that altered the course of Iberian history and ushered in a new era for the culture of Spain and the rest...

read more

2. The Long Road into Exile

pdf iconDownload PDF (168.4 KB)
pp. 33-56

The passage of Iberian Jewry from West to East was neither immediate nor direct. Whereas some of the refugees of 1492 were able to find safe haven in the eastern Mediterranean, the vast majority spent the rest of their lives amid a succession of tribulations in Portugal, North Africa, and Italy. Many years...

read more

3. An Age of Perpetual Migration

pdf iconDownload PDF (141.8 KB)
pp. 57-75

One of the defining characteristics of Jewish history in the sixteenth century was that the great expulsions of the 1490s did not lead to a neat transfer of Jewish settlement from West to East. Rather, the Jewish exodus from Spain gave way to a long and decidedly unsettled period of nearly continuous...

read more

4. Community and Control in the Sephardic Diaspora

pdf iconDownload PDF (130.7 KB)
pp. 76-92

For those Jews who survived the first calamitous years after 1492, the question soon arose as to how they would organize themselves in exile. The general instability of Jewish life during much of the sixteenth century played a crucial role in this process. As with the migration of Iberian...

read more

5. Families, Networks, and the Challenge of Social Organization

pdf iconDownload PDF (148.1 KB)
pp. 93-112

The independent congregation-community was not the only way in which Mediterranean Jews organized themselves during this period. As the refugees of 1492 set about reestablishing these local political associations, they also began to form broader interregional links with one another. These horizontal...

read more

6. Rabbinic and Popular Judaism in the Sixteenth-Century Mediterranean

pdf iconDownload PDF (161.2 KB)
pp. 113-134

Political and social organization were not the only areas of Jewish society in which the realities of daily life fell short of the ideals set forth by Jewish tradition. The performance of religious obligations and customs also became an arena in which the contours of the Sephardic Diaspora were asserted...

read more

7. Imagining Sepharad

pdf iconDownload PDF (186.7 KB)
pp. 135-155

The Expulsion of the Jews from Spain and the subsequent migration of Conversos from Portugal also mark the beginning of a long process of cultural self-fashioning in which the descendants of the Spanish exile would, over the course of the sixteenth century, create a transnational Hispano-Jewish, or “Sephardic...

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (73.6 KB)
pp. 157-162

The Expulsion of 1492 was the culmination of a long series of large-scale expulsions that drove the Jews out of Latin Christendom. After decades of continued expulsion and migration, the majority of Iberian Jews ultimately came to settle in Muslim lands, where they continued their legacy of economic...


pdf iconDownload PDF (313.9 KB)
pp. 163-194

Selected Bibliography

pdf iconDownload PDF (146.4 KB)
pp. 195-204


pdf iconDownload PDF (529.1 KB)
pp. 205-213

About the Author

pdf iconDownload PDF (39.3 KB)
pp. 214-225

E-ISBN-13: 9780814729120
Print-ISBN-13: 9780814729113
Print-ISBN-10: 0814729118

Page Count: 224
Publication Year: 2013