Religion: Anathema

In the bright light of freedom in 17th century Amsterdam, the little band of Jews from Spain and Portugal still felt afraid and hunted. They were marranos (meaning "swine" or "accursed"), victims of forcible baptism as Christians under the terror of the Inquisition; now that they could practice Judaism openly in their new home, they did so with ferocious tenacity. When in 1656 a young scholar among them dared to range his brilliant mind beyond the confines of the faith—he doubted the existence of angels, the incorporeality of God and the soul's immortality, later recognized Jesus as a bearer of divine...

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