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Reviewed by:
  • The Other Within: The Marranos, Split Identity, and Emerging Modernity
  • Henry Kamen (bio)
Yirmiyahu Yovel, The Other Within: The Marranos, Split Identity, and Emerging Modernity (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2009), 488 pp.

The writer of this book authored in 1989 a learned study of Spinoza and other heretics, and his knowledge of Spinoza’s place in European thought evidently inspired the argument, which he developed at the time, that Castilian Marranos — because of their subjective approach to the dilemma of living athwart [End Page 146] both Jewish and Christian worlds — were the originators of modernity. He here expands the argument, through a sweeping exploration of history, philosophy, and literature: “The Marrano mind contributed to initiating the modern will: the demand to reform the world, especially in matters of religious freedom, toleration, free trade and the creation of a cosmopolitan-inspired model of life.” To reach this conclusion, Yovel must deal in a cavalier fashion with historical evidence and supply a fictitious survey of the Inquisition and its methods, but some readers will find that the end justifies the means, and any reader will be entertained by his account.

Henry Kamen

Henry Kamen is professor at the Higher Council for Scientific Research in Barcelona and a fellow of the Royal Historical Society in London. He is the author of Empire: How Spain Became a World Power, 1492–1763; The Spanish Inquisition: A Historical Revision; Golden Age Spain; Philip of Spain; The Duke of Alba; The War of Succession in Spain; Spain in the Late Seventeenth Century; The Phoenix and the Flame: Catalonia and the Counter-Reformation; Imagining Spain: Historical Myth and National Identity; and The Escorial: Art and Power in the Renaissance.



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pp. 146-147
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