With Swimming the Christian Atlantic, Jonathan Schorsch revisits the main subject of his first book, Jews and Blacks in the Early Modern World (Cambridge University Press, 2004). Here the author’s central goal is to understand how three dominated groups of the early modern Iberian empires — Judeoconversos, Afroiberians, and Amerindians — related to each other, how each group perceived the other groups and interacted with them. The book focuses on the seventeenth century, the moment when the same “theopolitical” reality encompassed the whole Iberian Atlantic seen as a political and a religious entity: the Atlantic as a Christian space.

In the first chapter, Schorsch deftly reviews the historiography of the African diaspora and Judeo-Iberian identities (purposely leaving aside studies on Native Americans), and deconstructs several attempts to generalize those identities, stressing the importance of the relational factor to their building and reshaping....

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