Was Columbus actually Jewish?


An interesting speculation, but not persuasive.

There were a lot of people in Europe (still are) with at least some Jewish ancestry. If Columbus really was a Marrano (and there would have been a lot of them) at least in part, that did not necessarily preclude the genuniness of his Christianity.

It’s difficult for moderns to realize how well educated, culturally, people were centuries ago…much better than most of us are. It would have been common among educated people to have had knowledge of Hebrew (as well as Latin and Greek).

But the article’s writer is really stretching it to say that Castilian Spanish is an outgrowth of Ladino (the “yiddish” of Spain). It was the other way around. Ladino was simply Spanish to begin with; the Spanish of a significant part of Spain. Its linguistic roots are Latin, Celtic, Basque, with touches of Arabic and German. It changed with some Jews the farther away they moved from Spain into a sort of separate semi-language.

Parts of Columbus certainly are Jewish. Bexley, for example, has a large Jewish population. But there are a good number of Catholics too.

Oh wait, what?


But if he was a Converso, then he was not a Jew, but a Christian with Jewish ancestors.

To me, there’s a larger question embedded in the article: Columbus didn’t speak Italian? This isn’t the first time I’ve seen an implication that he was likely of Spanish origin and not the Italian hero celebrated on October 12th. The question of his possible Jewish ancestry would seem to more consistent with roots on the Iberian peninsula, especially when coupled with his not speaking Italian.

Columbus also landed on October 12 (Our Lady of the Pillar day). Is that a “coincidence”? It is said that all on the ships honored Our Lady. :thumbsup: They were aware of her protection. :slight_smile:

Did Columbus have Jewish friends? Most likely. Did they help him? Why not? I have many Jewish friends, we do many things together, we help each other, we love each other. People think I am Jewish, are surprised when I tell them I am not, and apologize. I tell them it is an honor he or she thinks I am Jewish. I also learned to write my name in Hebrew! These “things” do not make me Jewish. I do not hide my being Catholic. I am. :smiley: I can correlate the “Catholic” with the “Jewish” with my friends (and it is not an argument). When they come to church with me, others think they are Catholic! :thumbsup:

Many prominent people of the time has Jewish ancestry/roots. St. Teresa of Avila had Jewish roots, too, but no one would question her Catholicism. Although she did experience some discrimination for being Jewish when she was trying to bring about reform to the Carmelite order, but that’s another story for another thread. :slight_smile:

I thought but could be wrong that St. John of the Cross might also have had Jewish roots. I thought he encouraged his fellow Carmelites to learn Hebrew.

That could be. I wouldn’t be surprised if that were the case. I’d have to look it up to be sure, though. :slight_smile:

Christopher Columbus was a devout Catholic. When he landed in the Americas, he was wearing the habit of a Third Order Franciscan.

Jewish roots? Maybe. There was a fairly large Jewish community in Genova. His family origins were in the high mountains east of Genova, though.

The “scholarship” of this article is evidenced by the claim that Colombus “didn’t speak Italian”. Maybe, but that’s because he would have been speaking zeneise (genovese) dialect. Different enough from Fiorentine Italian, sure. But not so different that if someone spoke zeneise to a fiorentino, the fiorentino wouldn’t understand it all.

I speak both dialects. Zeneise does have many different words than true Italian, sure. In Italian a pillow is a guanciale. In zeneise (and you’ll have to forgive me here as I am unsure of the spelling) it is a luagie (looAHHjeh).


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