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Albert Lindemann writes: *The concept of "race" developed in the nineteenth century; to place its origins in seventeenth century Spain makes little sense. The connections are absurdly stretched and the linkages simply don't work. What did exist in seventeenth century Spain was a belief in inherent or essential traits. Thus, when Jews converted, their "blood" still allegedly influenced their character and beliefs. Now, if one wishes to term that position "racist," then one is forced to conclude that Jews themselves were racists, for they believed with no less constancy in essential or inherent traits -- in Jews as in others.* Comment: Sorry to disagree but I side with Poliakov on this one. Not only did institutionalized racism begin in 15th-century Spain (the Inquisition ran from the late 15th through the early 19th centuries), but I would argue that a Christian racism can be detected as early as the 4th century in Sts. Augustine and John Chrysostom. Moreover, is not the belief in inherent and inherited traits what characterizes 19th-century racism as well, the same emphasis on evil vs good blood occurs among the Spanish, and is implied in Luther, as well as 19th-century writers. It is certainly arguable that those Jews who took the position you repeat above were racists. Anyone who takes that position, it seems to me, is a racist. The difference is that the Jews did not hold dominant political power nor did they institutionalize their race ideas in punitive laws, and so forth. These are the distinctions that I am looking at. *I consider what occurred in Spain in the seventeenth century to be a black mark for Christianity and for European civilization. The concept of "purity of blood" might indeed be termed "un-Christian," since it implied that the cleansing waters of baptism, of being reborn in Christ, were not always effective.... In short, if the Inquisitors of seventeenth century Spain are to be termed racists, then Jews, at that time and now, are also racists. Are we all comfortable with that?* Comment: It is not a matter of being comfortable. Both Jews and Christians who hold racist ideas are racists. But the powerless can never be racists in the same way as the powerful can. Shalom, Robert Michael firstname.lastname@example.org