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The Unconverted SelfJews, Indians, and the Identity of Christian Europe$
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Jonathan Boyarin

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780226069197

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226069142.001.0001

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Christendom

Christendom

Chapter:
(p.54) Chapter Three Christendom
Source:
The Unconverted Self
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226069142.003.0004

During the late Middle Ages, Christendom was understood as the space wherein Catholic faith held sway, rather than simply the extent of territory ruled by Catholic monarchs. In that sense, Catholic-ruled territories still had to be made and remade into part of Christendom on a regular, if not continuous, basis. The expulsion of the remaining unconverted Jews from Spain in 1492 coincided with Christopher Columbus's departure on his first transatlantic voyage. The elimination of a separate space for Jews and the extension of European Christian dominion were part of a single process. In other words, Catholic Spain emerged because Christian Europe came into being. The Fourth Lateran Council was a moment of symbolic closure for the twelfth-century mode of self-formation, as well as a key moment in shaping Europe's image as monolithically Christian. This chapter explores how Jews and Indians served as symbolic building blocks of the limits of confessional and geographic Christendom.

Keywords:   Christendom, Jews, Spain, Indians, Christian Europe, Fourth Lateran Council, Middle Ages

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