This epilogue highlights how the life and literary undertakings of Isaac Orobio de Castro are symbolic of the fate and fortunes of the Spanish and Portuguese Sephardi diaspora in seventeenth-century western Europe. His passage from Christianity to Judaism is a faithful mirror of the history of a whole community that succeeded in dropping the mask of a Christian conformity that had been forcibly imposed upon them by life in a society where the open profession of Judaism was proscribed, and in finding their bearings again within the Jewish community. Their reversion to Judaism was the result of changes both subjective and objective. The cruelty of the Inquisition that spread its terror through the ‘New Christian’ population of the Iberian Peninsula made it impossible even for those who wished to do so to become indistinguishably integrated into Christian society. But in addition to this, the yearning of crypto-Jews to reintegrate openly into Judaism in lands where this was feasible was principally nurtured by their feeling of Jewish identity which, for many of them, generations of an enforced life of Christian conformity had not dulled. The history of the Alvares de Orobio family offers an instructive example of this phenomenon.
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