Caught Between Judaism and Christianity

Struggles of Spanish Jews forced to accept Christianity can inform the Messianic movement today.

Caught Between Judaism and Christianity
Jack Bentley/FLASH90
Uriel Acosta was born in Portugal, a Sephardic Jew who, together with his family, was forced to abandon Judaism and adopt Christianity during the Spanish Inquisition. Similar to modern-day Messianic Jews, these crypto-Jews held on to their Jewish traditions while practicing the Christian faith.  Under pressure from the Church and state, over half of the Jews in the Iberian Peninsula converted to Christianity to avoid expulsion in 1492. By the time Acosta was born in 1585, his family had become devout Christians, and Uriel went on study Catholic and Christian theology for eight years in pursuit of an ecclesiastical office.…