Reason: The file contains material to be published as a book after the defense.


My dissertation analyzes the hyphenated Judeo-Spanish cultural identity that Amsterdam’s Jewish community developed during the seventeenth century and how the works its members authored reflected such identity. Yosef Kaplan, who coined the critical concept of “New Jew,” a term that refers to the Jewish community of Amsterdam, provides the theoretical framework for this research. Raised as Catholics in Spain, this community was without contact with any organized Jewish community. Therefore, the so-called “New Jews” built their Jewish identity in Amsterdam while still carrying the memory of Spain’s experiences.

Chapter 2 focuses on the relationship between Amsterdam Jewish authors’ physical and cultural journey and the history of Iberian Jews from the end of the fifteenth century in Spain through their settlement in Amsterdam in the seventeenth century.

Chapter 3 exemplifies this cultural phenomenon in the poet Miguel (Daniel Levi), de Barrios, discussing how his poetry mutated—as the author himself did—from Christianity to Judaism.

Chapter 4 addresses the study of anti-Jewish Iberian works composed by authors such as Vicente da Costa Matos, Francisco de Quevedo, and Francisco de Torrejoncillo. This chapter provides the anti-Jewish Iberian background that explains the contestation against Catholicism that Jewish authors later developed in Amsterdam.

Chapter 5 defends the existence of a differentiated anti-Catholic polemic genre germane to seventeenth-century Amsterdam’s Jewish community and other communities composed of Jewish-Spanish exiles. This a comparative analysis of works by Daniel de Barrios, Abraham Gómez Silveira, Isaac Cardoso, Saul Levi Mortera, Orobio de Castro, Antonio Enríquez Gómez, Abraham Pereyra, and several anonymous works.

Chapter 6 analyses Menasseh ben Israel’s Esperanza de Israel as a work that vindicates the concept of Jewish hope within the framework of the exploratory travels and the epistemological changes that defined the Early Modern period.

Altogether, by focusing on the literature developed by Judeo-Spanish writers, my dissertation enhances the comprehension of the hyphenated cultural identity developed by Jewish communities composed of exiles from the Iberian Peninsula. These people held a divided identity that they tried to conciliate in their works, which unified the Hispanic cultural background and the Judaism they recovered once they left Portugal and Spain.


Degree Type

Doctor of Philosophy


Languages and Cultures

Campus location

West Lafayette

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Yonsoo Kim

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee co-chair

Daniel Frank

Additional Committee Member 2

Howard Mancing

Additional Committee Member 3

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