António José da Silva

Last updated
António José da Silva Coutinho
אנטוניו ז'וזה דה סילווה
Antonio Jose da Silva.jpg
Born(1705-05-08)May 8, 1705
Brazil
DiedOctober 18, 1739(1739-10-18) (aged 34)
Portugal
Genre dramatist

António José da Silva Coutinho (8 May 1705 18 October 1739) was a Portuguese dramatist born in colonial Brazil, known as "the Jew" (O Judeu). The Brazilian spelling of his first name is Antônio; António José da Silva in Hebrew is אנטוניו ז'וזה דה סילווה.

Contents

Life

His parents, João Mendes da Silva and Lourença Coutinho, were descended from Jews who had emigrated to the colony of Brazil to escape the Inquisition, but in 1702 that tribunal began to persecute the Marranos or anyone of Jewish descent in Rio, and in October 1712 Lourença Coutinho became a victim. Her husband and children accompanied her to Portugal when António was 7 years old, [1] where she figured among the "reconciled" in the auto-da-fé of July 9, 1713, after undergoing the torment only. [2]

Her husband, having then acquired a fixed domicile in Lisbon, settled down to advocacy with success, and he was able to send António to the University of Coimbra, where he matriculated in the faculty of law. In 1726 António was suddenly imprisoned along with his mother on August 8; on the 16th he suffered the first interrogation, and on September 23 he was put to the torment, with the result that three weeks later he could not sign his name. He confessed to having followed the practices of the Mosaic law, and this saved his life. He then went through the great auto-da-fé held on October 23 in the presence of King John V and his court, abjured his errors, and was set at liberty. His mother was only released from prison in October 1729, after she had undergone torture and figured as a penitent in another auto-da-fé. [2]

Meanwhile, António had gone back to Coimbra, and finishing his course in 1728–1729 he returned to Lisbon and became associated with his father as an advocate. He found what he believed to be an ignorant and corrupt society ruled by an immoral yet fanatical monarch, who wasted millions on unprofitable buildings though the country was almost without roads and the people had become the most backward in Europe. As his plays show, the spectacle struck António's observation, but he had to criticize with caution. [2]

He produced his first play or opera in 1733, and the next year he married his cousin, D. Leonor Maria de Carvalho, whose parents had been burnt by the Inquisition, while she herself had gone through an auto-da-fé in Spain and been exiled on account of her religion. They had their first daughter in 1734, but the years of their happiness and of Silva's dramatic career were few, for on October 5, 1737, husband and wife were both imprisoned on the charge of "judaizing." A slave of theirs had denounced them to the Holy Office. Though the details of the accusation against them seemed trivial and contradictory, and some of his friends testified about his Catholic piety and observation, António was condemned to death. On October 18, like those who wanted to die in the Catholic faith, he was first strangled and after had his body burnt in an auto-da-fé. [2] His wife, who witnessed his death, did not long survive him. [3]

Legacy

Slight as these sketches are, they show considerable dramatic talent and an Aristophanic wit. The characters are well drawn and the dialogue full of comic strength, the scenes knit together and the plot skillfully worked out. Moreover, Silva possessed a knowledge of stagecraft, and, if he had lived, he might have emancipated the drama in Portugal from its dependence on foreign writers; but the triple licence of the Palace, the Ordinary and the Inquisition, which a play required, crippled spontaneity and freedom. Even so, he showed some boldness in exposing types of the prevailing charlatanism and follies, though his liberty of speech is far less than that of Gil Vicente. His comedies give a truthful and interesting picture of 18th century society, especially his best comedy, the Alecrim e Mangerona, in which he treats of the fidalgo pobre , a type fixed by Vicente and Francisco Manuel de Melo. [2]

His works bear the title "operas" because, though written mainly in prose, they contain songs which Silva introduced in imitation of the true operas which then held the fancy of the public. He was also a lyric poet of real merit, combining correctness of form with a pretty inspiration and real feeling. His plays were published in the first two volumes of a collection entitled Theatro comico portuguez, which went through at least five editions in the 18th century, while the Alecrim e Mangerona appeared separately in some seven editions. This comedy and the Don Quixote have been reprinted in a critical edition with a life of Silva by Mendes dos Remedios (Coimbra, 1905). [2]

Ferdinand Denis, in his Chefs-d'œuvre du théâtre portugais (pp. 365–496, Paris, 1823), prints liberal extracts, with a French translation, from the Vida de Dom Quixote, and F. Wolf likewise gives selections from Silva's various compositions. Silva is the subject also of several laudatory poems and dramas, one or two of which were composed by Brazilian compatriots. [2]

His story was dramatized in the 1996 film The Jew.

Works

His dramatic works, which were produced at the Bairro Alto theatre between 1733 and 1738, include the following comedies, all played by marionettes:

Related Research Articles

Inquisition system of tribunals enforcing Catholic orthodoxy

The Inquisition, in historical ecclesiastical parlance also referred to as the "Holy Inquisition", was a group of institutions within the Catholic Church whose aim was to combat heresy. The Inquisition started in 12th-century France to combat religious dissent, in particular the Cathars and the Waldensians. Other groups investigated later included the Spiritual Franciscans, the Hussites and the Beguines. Beginning in the 1250s, inquisitors were generally chosen from members of the Dominican Order, replacing the earlier practice of using local clergy as judges. The term Medieval Inquisition covers these courts up to the mid-15th century.

Marrano Jews forcibly converted to Catholicism in Spain

Marranos were Spanish and Portuguese Jews living in the Iberian Peninsula who converted or were forced to convert to Christianity during the Middle Ages, yet continued to practice Judaism in secret.

Crypto-Judaism Secret adherence to Judaism

Crypto-Judaism is the secret adherence to Judaism while publicly professing to be of another faith; practitioners are referred to as "crypto-Jews".

José Bonifácio de Andrada (1763-1838) Brazilian politician

José Bonifácio de Andrada e Silva was a Brazilian statesman, naturalist, mineralist, professor and poet, born in Santos, São Paulo, then part of the Portuguese Empire. He was one of the most important mentors of Brazilian independence, and his actions were decisive for the success of Emperor Pedro I. He supported public education, was an abolitionist and suggested that a new national capital be created in Brazil's underdeveloped interior. His career as naturalist was marked by the discovery of four new minerals.

New Christian was a theocratic strategy and a policy of intra-religious and social segregation, devised through edicts from Spanish and Portuguese monarchs from the 15th century onwards. The New Christian social category was made to refer to and deal with Sephardic and Bene Israel Jews, and the Muslim Moors who converted whether willfully or forcefully to Roman Catholicism. It was used in Spain and Portugal as well as in the colonies of the Spanish and Portuguese empires. According to António José Saraiva, a famous or "Emeritus" Portuguese Literature Teacher and Historian, "The reality of the dichotomy between Old and New Christian only existed in the Inquisitorial taxonomy. The religious or ethnic definition of the New Christians was, in the last analysis, merely formal and bureaucratic. In addition, the label of the New Christian can be based on rumors originating from dubious genealogies, slander and intrigue. " It was developed and employed after the Reconquista of the Iberian Peninsula by the Catholic Monarchs.

Almeida Garrett Portuguese writer and politician

João Baptista da Silva Leitão de Almeida Garrett, 1st Viscount of Almeida Garrett was a Portuguese poet, orator, playwright, novelist, journalist, politician, and a peer of the realm. A major promoter of theater in Portugal he is considered the greatest figure of Portuguese Romanticism and a true revolutionary and humanist. He proposed the construction of the D. Maria II National Theatre and the creation of the Conservatory of Dramatic Art.

Portuguese Inquisition System of tribunals enforcing Catholic orthodoxy

The Portuguese Inquisition, officially known as the General Council of the Holy Office of the Inquisition in Portugal, was formally established in Portugal in 1536 at the request of its king, John III. Manuel I had asked for the installation of the Inquisition in 1515 to fulfill the commitment of marriage with Maria of Aragon, but it was only after his death that Pope Paul III acquiesced. In the period after the Medieval Inquisition, it was one of three different manifestations of the wider Christian Inquisition along with the Spanish Inquisition and Roman Inquisition.

Goa Inquisition established in 1560 to force conversion to the Roman Catholic Church in Portuguese India

The Goa Inquisition was an extension of the Portuguese Inquisition in colonial-era Portuguese India. The Inquisition was established to enforce Catholic orthodoxy in the Indian dominions of the Portuguese Empire. The inquisition was instituted to counter the Hindus, Muslims, Bene Israels, New Christians and the Judaizing Nasranis by the colonial era Portuguese government and Jesuit clergy in Portuguese India. It was established in 1560, briefly suppressed from 1774 to 1778, continued thereafter until finally abolished in 1820. The Inquisition punished those who had converted to Catholicism but were suspected by Jesuit clergy of practising their previous religion in secret. Predominantly, those targeted were accused of Crypto-Hinduism. A few dozen criminally-charged natives were imprisoned, publicly flogged and could be, dependent on the criminal charge, be sentenced to death. The Catholic Christian missionaries also burnt any books written in Sanskrit, Arabic, Marathi, or Konkani that they could find in Goa, as well as restricted Protestant Christian books from entering Goa on Dutch or English merchant ships.

Garcia de Orta Portuguese botanist

Garcia de Orta was a Portuguese Renaissance Sephardi Jewish physician, herbalist and naturalist. He was a pioneer of tropical medicine, pharmacognosy and ethnobotany, working mainly in Goa, then a Portuguese overseas territory. Garcia de Orta used an experimental approach to the identification and use of herbal medicines rather than the traditional approach of using received knowledge. His magnum opus was a book on the simples and drugs published in 1563 Colóquios dos simples e drogas da India, the earliest treatise on the medicinal and economic plants of India. Carolus Clusius translated it into Latin which was widely used as a standard reference text on medicinal plants. Garcia de Orta died before the Inquisition began in Goa but in 1569 his sister was burnt at the stake for being a secret Jew and based on her confession his remains were later exhumed and burnt along with an effigy. Memorials recognizing his contributions have been built both in Portugal and India.

Francisco Maldonado da Silva was an Argentine marrano physician who was burned at the stake with eleven other Jews in Lima in the largest Auto-da-fé recorded in history. His life has been novelized by Argentinean best selling author Marcos Aguinis in the book Against the Inquisition.

Estaus Palace palace

The Estaus Palace in Rossio Square, in Lisbon, was the headquarters of the Portuguese Inquisition. The original palace was built on the north side of the square around 1450 as lodging for foreign dignitaries and noblemen visiting Lisbon.

History of the Jews in Brazil

The history of the Jews in Brazil is a rather long and complex one, as it stretches from the very beginning of the European settlement in the new continent. Although only baptized Christians were subject to the Inquisition, Jews started settling in Brazil when the Inquisition reached Portugal, in the 16th century. They arrived in Brazil during the period of Dutch rule, setting up in Recife the first synagogue in the Americas, the Kahal Zur Israel Synagogue, as early as 1636. Most of those Jews were Sephardic Jews who had fled the Inquisition in Spain and Portugal to the religious freedom of the Netherlands.

António Teixeira was a Portuguese composer.

Hugo José Jorge O'Neill was the head of the Clanaboy O'Neill dynasty, whose family has been in Portugal since the 18th century.

João Pedro Mouzinho de Albuquerque was a Portuguese nobleman.

Hipólito da Costa Brazilian journalist and diplomat

Hipólito José da Costa Pereira Furtado de Mendonça was a Brazilian journalist and diplomat considered to be the "father of Brazilian press".

<i>Auto-da-fé</i> ritual of penance of condemned heretics/apostates during the Spanish, Portuguese or Mexican Inquisitions

An auto-da-fé was the ritual of public penance carried out between the 15th and 19th centuries of condemned heretics and apostates imposed by the Spanish, Portuguese, or Mexican Inquisition as punishment and enforced by civil authorities. Its most extreme form was death by burning.

António Borges Coutinho GOL was a Portuguese lawyer and politician.

<i>The Jew</i> (film) 1995 film directed by Jom Tob Azulay

The Jew is a 1996 Brazilian-Portuguese coproduction film directed by Jom Tob Azulay with Filipe Pinheiro in the title role, Dina Sfat, and Mário Viegas as the king. It tells the story of the writer António José da Silva, nicknamed "the Jew", burned at the stake during the reign of King João V of Portugal in 1739.

<i>Frei Luís de Sousa</i> Play by Almeida Garrett

Frei Luís de Sousa is a play in three acts by Portuguese playwright Almeida Garrett, premiered on 4 July 1843 and first published the following year. A classical tragedy, it is loosely based on the true story of a 16th-century nobleman who, after being presumed killed in battle, returns to Portugal under Spanish rule, to the consternation of his wife who has since remarried.

References

  1. António José Saraiva: The Marrano Factory: The Portuguese Inquisition and Its New Christians 1536-1765, p. 95
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Wikisource-logo.svg One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain :  Prestage, Edgar (1911). "Silva, Antonio José da". In Chisholm, Hugh (ed.). Encyclopædia Britannica . 25 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. pp. 111–112.
  3. Antonio Jose da Silva, Jewish Virtual Library
  4. recording PortugalSom PS 5009

Further reading