It was a delight to catch up with Kevin Ingram
, professor of history at Saint Louis University, Madrid, to discuss his very impressive new book. Converso Non-Conformism in Early Modern Spain: Bad Blood and Faith from Alonso de Cartagena to Diego Velázquez
(Palgrave, 2018) sets out to account for the experience of those Spanish Jews, perhaps one-third of the total Spanish Jewish population, who converted to Catholicism after the Reconquista. Professor Ingram’s work shows how these converts struggled to assimilate into mainstream Spanish society, and how laws were passed to ensure that only those who could demonstrate “pure blood” could enter the highest echelons of Spanish life. But conversos found other ways to participate in community, identifying with the cause of virtue that was popularised in Renaissance humanism, developing new mystical strains of religious practice, and participating in the many competing agendas for religious reform. Conversos exercised a much greater influence on the Spanish golden age than a great deal of historical writing has noticed. An outstanding study of its subject, Converso Non-Conformism in Early Modern Spain
looks to be advancing an agenda-setting argument.
Crawford Gribben is a professor of history at Queen’s University Belfast. His research interests focus on the history of puritanism and evangelicalism, and he is the author most recently of J
ohn Owen and English Puritanism (Oxford University Press, 2016).