The motivations behind E.H. Lindo’s The History of the Jews of Spain and Portugal

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Abstract

This article analyses three main aspects of Elias Haim Lindo’s motivation in writing his work The History of the Jews of Spain and Portugal (London, 1848): the personal circumstances of the author; his desire to present an impartial and original narrative; and his response to the contentious environment of the time, marked by Christian conversionism and the controversy surrounding Jewish emancipation. To illustrate the contrasting points of view existing at the time of Lindo’s History, we will compare it with works by his contemporaries, in particular James Finn. We will thereby identify three intertwined ideas that are at the core of The History: the value of the Sephardic cultural legacy; the concept of Iberian Jews as the link between the Ancient Hebrews and the nineteenth-century English Jews; and the perception of the Iberian Jewish experience as a model for the ability of contemporary Jews to put down roots in England.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)92-116
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of Jewish Studies
Volume74
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2023

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