Monday, July 27, 2009

A Different Sotomayor

Reading Yosef Yerushalmi’s From Spanish Court to Italian Ghetto I find mention of a Fray Antonio de Sotomayor, who served as the confessor to King Philip IV of Spain before becoming Grand Inquisitor of Spain. This Sotomayor served as the dedicatee of a work by Don Juan de Quinones, which argued that Jewish men menstruate. (For more in this topic of Jewish men menstruating see David S. Katz’s essay “Shylock's gender: Jewish male menstruation in early modern England” in the Review of English Studies 50(1999): 440-462) Sotomayor headed the Inquisition for about a decade until 1643. Apparently he is remembered in history as being one of the more moderate members of the Spanish Inquisition at least compared to his successor Diego de Arce Reinoso.


e-kvetcher said...

I came across the Shylock article by accident a couple of years ago and posted on it. AT the time I thought it was one of the most bizarre things I'd read. Now that I see you refer to it, I have to ask - is this a very popular article in the scholarly literature or is the fact that we both posted on it a huge coincidence?

Izgad said...

David Katz is a well known historian. I first came across this article when I was assigned it for a class.
If you are interested in the topic, Joshua Trachtenberg mentions the issue in his classic book The Devil and the Jews.