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Collected Essays: v. 2$
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Haym Soloveitchik

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9781904113980

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: February 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781904113980.001.0001

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Between Cross and Crescent

Between Cross and Crescent

(p.223) Chapter Ten Between Cross and Crescent
Collected Essays: v. 2

Haym Soloveitchik

Liverpool University Press

This chapter explores martyrdom for Jews in Christian Spain and in Islamic countries. The Jews in both areas experienced religious persecution, but the common phenomenon of mass conversion elicited radically different responses. In Spain, the large-scale defection of both the common folk and the religious and cultural elite shattered the community's self-image, broke its pride, and generated a constant, corrosive brooding over why it had been unequal to the challenge and betrayed its covenant with God. In Islamic countries, however, nothing of the sort occurred. No doubt, many were racked with guilt and wrestled with a heavy conscience. However, these feelings produced no outpouring of self-criticism or self-examination, no pained inner reckoning with their deepest beliefs. The chapter examines the differences in assuming martyrdom between these two religious cultures.

Keywords:   religious persecution, forced conversions, Spain, Islamic countries, martyrdom, religious cultures, religious conversions

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