Classic EssaysRevilo P. Oliver

A Discrepancy

by Revilo P. Oliver

THE EDITOR of Liberty Bell noticed the discrepancy between the spelling of ‘Maranos’ in my quotation from the Jewish encyclopaedia on p.7 of the June issue and the form ‘Marranos’ in my comments and in a quotation from a later Jewish compilation. The distinction is one that I should perhaps have explained in a footnote, so I remedy the omission here.

It is commonly but incorrectly said that the Jews were expelled from Spain in 1492. The only Jews who were expelled at that time were Jews who refused to be sprinkled with the Christians’ magic water and outwardly adopt Christian practices by attending Christian churches, having their children baptized, etc. The many Jews who professed to be Christians but practiced Jewish rites in secret were not disturbed by the Spanish government in 1492, and the Jews who had theretofore practiced Jewish rites publicly were permitted to remain in Spain if they were willing to be “converted.” Only the Jews who refused to profess Christianity were expelled by the decree of Ferdinand and Isabella in 1492.

It is true that the Spanish Inquisition was established for the primary purpose of detecting and punishing Jews who professed to be Christians but secretly continued to perform Jewish rites. This was a perfectly legitimate exercise of governmental power in terms of both Christian and Jewish religious principles. Jews who profess their tribal religion cannot logically object to the Inquisition as politically improper, but only that it was wrongly directed against them. Modern Christians, who apologize for the Inquisition and often describe it as a special wickedness of the Roman Catholic Church, must do so on the supposition that their supposedly omniscient god changed his mind about what he wanted, perhaps at the time that he realized he had made an awful mistake in loving Jews and hating the rest of mankind for several thousand years (4004 B.C. to A.D. 30 or thereabouts).

Since the Fathers of the Church succeeded in exterminating all the other Christian sects, all Christians, with the exception of a very few heretics, have based their faith on a holy book that included what is called the “Old Testament,” which teaches, over and over again, the lesson that old Yahweh punished the tribe that he loved for tolerating in their territory persons who did not scrupulously observe the barbaric rites and customs he ordained. It was the responsibility of the tribe or nation to see to it that no individual in their power transgressed the rules that the whim of the big Jew in the clouds had imposed on his Chosen Pets, and if the tribe failed to do so and permitted some person to violate the rules in secret, the vicious old god punished the whole tribe for its negligence in not detecting secret sins. That is the whole burden of the Christians’ Jew-book, and according to all Christian theory, after old Yahweh became peeved with the Jews for killing a piece of him, he decided to try the Christians as his pets, and while he changed some of the rules (e.g., about circumcision) for their convenience, it was reasonable to assume that he continued to govern according to his principle of collective responsibility. That has been the belief on which all Christian legislation has been based. It is assumed that old Yahweh is irritated when he sees people dancing on Sunday or watches a woman have an abortion or behold some other conduct which, according to his dervishes, will get him hot under the collar. Now old Yahweh will grab the transgressors after they die and have them fried in eternal flames for hundreds, thousands, millions, and billions of years, and some of you may think that such endless torture of the offenders should be sufficient to vent his ire. But no, according to Christian doctrine, old Yahweh treats his new pets just as he treated the old, and he will inflict terrible chastisement on the nation that didn’t prevent persons from dancing on Sunday or prevent a woman from having an abortion, even if the accursed sinners did so covertly that no one else could have known about it. Old Yahweh is indeed a terrible god, and it is no wonder that pious Christians live in constant fear of what he may do next.

For fifteen centuries, Christians have been yelling for legislation to force everyone within the nation’s borders to do what will please old Yahweh, as determined by the holy men who are in vogue in the given nation at the given time. And Christians have always got the legislation they wanted wherever one of their sects succeeded in dominating the country. And even today they are clamoring for legislation, e.g., to forbid abortions, on the grounds that old Yahweh or some piece of him will smite whole nations that permit conduct he doesn’t like. (Abortions are, of course, a racial problem, but Christians can never think about anything rationally, so they squawk about what they think their god thinks about such things.) At the present time, the Christian witch-doctors who put out their bait on the Jews’ boob-tubes have been assuring the suckers that old Yahweh didn’t really change his mind about the Kikes and will do awful things to nations so wicked they don’t submit to his Master Race, but before the Jewish occupation of Western nations, Christians chose to believe the parts of the Jesus-story according to which the incarnate third of their god called his erstwhile pets a “synagogue of Satan” and promised to have them fried in Hell for not guessing who he was in his human disguise.

According to this long unquestioned principle of Christian theology, old Yahweh would afflict all the Spaniards in the Spanish peninsula if they did not prevent Jews from performing in secret the rites which, after the Crucifixion, he began to abominate. The Inquisition was therefore an act of national defense, defense not against human enemies, over whom courage and arms might prevail, but against an irresistible supernatural power that could and would destroy the entire nation, if irritated. To the Spaniards, terror-stricken by their Christian faith, the Inquisition was a solemn duty incumbent on their government. Persons who do not understand that and censure the Spanish people or the Spanish monarchy instead of their Christian superstition are irrationally unjust. After every Jew who practiced openly the religion that had become offensive to old Yahweh had been run out of the country, there were left the many, many thousands of Jews who professed to be Christians but secretly continued to perform the rites to which old Yahweh had taken such vehement dislike. And since old Yahweh was keeping his eye on everyone, every time he saw a Jew try to please him in the ways he liked before he changed his mind about them, old Yahweh was irritated, and if he saw such forbidden conduct very often, and especially if the Spaniards had not shown the utmost diligence in trying to root out the damned Jews, Yahweh was likely to lose his temper and squash Spain as one squashes a cockroach by stepping on it. The Inquisition was Spain’s one hope of escaping perdition. The Spanish people, being good Christians, naturally endorsed and supported the Inquisition, and it was only natural for them to hate the perfidious Jews who were endangering the whole nation and might any day destroy it by annoying old Yahweh.

It is true that the Inquisition did not work very well. For one thing, it is simply impossible for any human agency to keep everyone under surveillance all the time. Yahweh, of course, can watch everyone all the time and he does. (You remember that in the old days of the “Old Testament,” he, who obviously has the latrine-mentality of the Jews, used to watch them to make sure that they defecated and urinated in Kosher style to entertain him.) Despite the Inquisition and all its spies, who tried to spy on everyone, as does our F.B.I.-Mossad combination, but without modern means of electronic surveillance, disguised Jews who exercised a modicum of circumspection could meet in secret and perform their ancestral rites with very little risk, whenever they wanted to affirm their faith or exercise their contempt for the stupid goyim. And doubtless many Jews no more believed their mythology than do the Zionists today, and thought that the fun of thumbing their nose at the half-witted Aryans in secret wasn’t worth the trouble. They, of course, were perfectly safe.

The Inquisition, furthermore, became almost as corrupt as is the American government today. Jews, disguised as Christians, penetrated and perhaps controlled it from the very first. Torquemada is said to have been a Jew himself; his successor as Grand Inquisitor almost certainly was. The Inquisitors did have to punish Jews who became slap-happy or had bad luck and displayed too publicly their contempt for the religion they professed, but the Inquisition was gradually deflected to pursuit of rational men who did not conceal their skepticism, or Christians suspected of Protestant or other heretical thoughts, of unlicensed astrologers and other adventurers who performed magic in competition with the Church, and to in-fighting within the Church, especially between the Dominicans and the Jesuits. The Inquisition was also used to protect political corruption. When one considers the tragic fate of Juan de Mariana, for example, it is almost impossible to determine the relative importance of the venomous hatred of the Dominicans for the Jesuits as opposed to the influence of Spain’s Prime Minister, who became righteously wroth because Mariana accused him of doing what he was actually doing but hoped the boobs were too stupid to notice. (He was doing what the Federal Reserve and Congress are doing today.)

In the meantime, Jews who pretended to be Christians penetrated and gained control of the Church in Spain by becoming Bishops and Archbishops; of the aristocracy, chiefly by marrying richly-endowed Jewesses to impoverished or greedy noblemen and thus polluting the aristocracy genetically, as they have done in Britain today; and of the government, by placing Jews in positions of administrative power or, even better, appointing them as letrados to advise and direct stupid goyim in high office, as they do in the United States. Jews have sometimes boasted that they thus ruined Spain to punish the nation for the decree of 1492, the Jews in Spain acting in concert with the Jews ensconced in other nations to undermine the nation. At all events, Spain did not long remain the dominant world power, and Jews could gloat over her decadence, whether or not they had conspiratorially engineered it.

Let me repeat emphatically that no Jew was ever expelled from Spain or harassed for being a Jew — only for performing Jewish rites and thus putting the entire nation in peril. No doubt, a few crypto-Jews became tired of keeping up the masquerade or overestimated the risk of being detected by the Inquisition, and accordingly left Spain, especially if they saw an opportunity of greater pickings elsewhere, but they emigrated voluntarily, not under compulsion of any kind.

So much for the Inquisition, which, to a considerable extent, actually protected the crypto-Jews. Before it was established, a luckless Jew sometimes was caught in, or suspected of, some act that might set off old Yahweh, and the scared Spanish populace broke out in riots in which many Jews were killed, despite efforts of Church and State to protect them. After the Inquisition was charged with the responsibility for keeping watch on the Jews, popular indignation or alarm resulted in only a denunciation of the suspected individual to some spy (‘familiar’) of the Inquisition.

Now the Spanish term for a Jew who pretended to be Christian and performed Jewish rites in secret, thus endangering the whole nation, was Marrano, a good Spanish word meaning ‘pig,’ and, like the English word, it was used both literally and metaphorically. Crypto-Jews were called ‘pigs’ by the Spanish from the personal filth by which many of them betrayed themselves, filth which was noteworthy even in a nation that had been much influenced by the Christian disapproval of baths. One thinks of the sweet Jews from Poland who were so cruelly treated by the wicked Nazis, who deprived them of their dear body-lice and subjected the tender bodies of God’s People to contact with water for the first time in their lives. That, of course, is the atrocity for which the Germans will never be forgiven. It is called the Holocaust.

Not all crypto-Jews in Spain were like the Jews in Poland and Russia and some of them, no doubt, were as clean as the Christians, but ‘pig’ is always a term of opprobrium, and it may have been considered especially apt for the secretly religious Jews whom the Spanish so feared because, as is notorious, Jews are forbidden to eat pork, perhaps because a pig or boar was their tribal totem at one time. There can be no doubt but that the Spanish called the crypto-Jews “marranos,” i.e., ‘swine.’ That is now admitted by everyone, including educated Jews, as, for example, in Professor Cecil Roth’s History of the Marranos (Philadelphia, Jewish Publication Society, 1932), and the Jewish propaganda book, called an “encyclopaedia,” published in 1973, from which I quoted.

Thus ‘Marranos’ is the only correct term for the crypto-Jews in Spain, and is used by extension of Jews who feign conversion to the culture of the nation in which they have taken up residence.

That is admitted now, but for a long time the Jews tried to deny that so opprobrious a word was applied to members of their race who pretended to be Christian. They accordingly spelled it ‘Marano,’ as in the scholarly Jewish Encyclopaedia published in 1901-1906, and derived it from some fanciful etymon, most frequently a Hebrew term meaning ‘in appearance only’ or the term maranatha found in the “New Testament” and of uncertain meaning.(1) This made possible an extension of the word to cover the fairly numerous Jews who, both before and after 1492, evidently had no pronounced religious beliefs and prudently refrained from performing Jewish ceremonies in secret. They conformed outwardly to Christian customs, perhaps in the spirit of many agnostics and atheists today, who attend churches because that is good for business or expected of politicians, and, if they are too honest to dissemble their beliefs in that way, may conform to the prevalent superstition in such matters as weddings and funerals from mere courtesy. The Jews in Spain who thus sensibly refrained from Jewish rites were, of course, damned from the orthodox Jewish point of view, even though many or most of them worked for the eventual triumph of their race over the hated goyim, whom they had ostensibly joined. That some of those Jews, who had little or no faith in their tribal mythology, were unjustly suspected of secretly performing Jewish rites is quite possible, and it is possible that their indifference to religious myths of any kind may have exposed them to suspicion more often than suspicion was incurred by the practitioners of such rites, who were usually very circumspect in their public behavior and more practiced in hypocrisy.

In the quotation on p. 7 of my article, ‘Marano’ is used in the extended sense, and that is why I did not challenge it, but did challenge ‘Marrano’ in the quotation on p.9 and the note I joined to it. The Marranos whom the Spaniards really hated and feared were, of course, the ones who, while pretending to be Christians, secretly offended Yahweh and could bring down on all Spain his tyrannical vengeance. And they were hated and feared the more because most of them were clever enough to avoid detection and no legal sanctions could be imposed on them.

Tired of hearing about the Jews? Well, you should have learned a little more about them before you gave them the country that once was yours, dear Aryan kinsman. They are not going to let you forget them now, not even after you have acquired the habit of automatically kow-towing every time you see a member of old Yahweh’s Master Race.


(1) The word occurs only in the Pauline Ep. ad Corinthos, I.16.22, where it is treated as an adjective in the King James version: “If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema Maranatha.” This was naturally taken to mean a particularly solemn and terrible form of anathema, and the phrase has often been used in English to mean the most powerful and frightful curse that can be laid on anyone. This fits the context and may well be right, ‘maranatha’ being a magic word, as were ‘abracadabra’ and ‘hocus-pokus’ before they became comical. Such expressions, which sound like words but are actually meaningless, are useful in magic, since they convey the impression that an unknown language of special power over gods and spirits is being used. And ritual cursing is made to sound more dire by the use of such portentous nonsense. Such meaningless and therefore mystical pseudo-words are common to all superstitions. The curses found written in Egyptian hieroglyphic were full of them. Excellent examples in Greek and Latin may be found in the defixiones, the curses that were written on lead tablets and buried for the instruction of the daemones of the Underworld. For an amusing collection of such curses, see A. Audollent, Defixionum tabellae, Paris, 1904. Many of the tablets have collocations of syllables like ‘maranatha,’ e.g., ‘egdarata’ and ‘atracatetraca’ and ‘ethaeithouma,’ which were supposed to put an extra zip into curses. Christian holy men have claimed that “maranatha” was a Greek transcription of two Aramaic words that meant “O, Lord, come!” or “May the Lord come!” or “The Lord is coming!” It is hard to see why the composer of the epistle should have lapsed into Aramaic at that point, but, of course, holy fakirs do odd things, and anyway, it doesn’t matter a tinker’s damn.

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Source: Liberty Bell magazine, November 1985

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