Denunciations and Retractions

Marina Caffiero

in Forced Baptism

Published by University of California Press

Published in print December 2011 | ISBN: 9780520254510
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520950283 | DOI:
Denunciations and Retractions

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A historiographical shift that concerns offerings was the denunciation of Jews. In this social practice, both Christians and converted Jews made a formal denunciation of someone who, according to their often largely suspect and interested testimony, was thought to have expressed, in public or in private, a desire to convert to Christianity, either individually or with his or her entire family. Clandestine or “furtive” baptism regularly resulted in children being taken away from their parents. Beyond their evident aim of eliminating uncertainties in the testimonies that might render the baptisms illegitimate and fuel controversy, these verifications and procedures hint that this was not the proselytizing practice most favored by the Church. Such denunciations were often false, made without the victim's knowledge and motivated by quarrels, personal rancor, or revenge, or else they resulted from someone's having overhead statements extorted under insistence or made in moments of anger.

Keywords: denunciation; testimony; baptisms; Clandestine; rancor

Chapter.  22288 words. 

Subjects: History of Religion

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