Numerous medieval Jewish writers mention with scorn the presence of Qaraites in the Iberian Peninsula. However, no definitive evidence of their presence has survived. This talk will examine one account of their disappearance: the legend of the forced conversion of Qaraites by Rabbanites told by Jewish convert Abner of Burgos. A reading of the account in context shows that the story serves to encourage conversion within the Jewish community by representing “turning” as a natural and recurring phenomenon in Jewish life.
The lecture is going to be delivered by Ryan Szpiech from the University of Michigan.