November 16, 2018 at 8:25 am

Barrile Completes Scholarly Translation of 16th-Century Manuscript


Matthew Barrile, portrait

Matthew Barrile

Dr. Matthew Barrile, Online Curricular Designer and Lecturer of Modern Languages at Ohio University, recently completed a scholarly translation of a 16th-century manuscript from the Portuguese Inquisition in Brazil.

The text is included in the forthcoming anthology, A Rainbow Thread: An Anthology of Queer Jewish Texts from the First Century to 1969 (ed. Noam Sienna, Print-O-Craft, Philadelphia, 2018).

The Inquisitorial text tells of how a 33-year old New Christian named João Bautista was brought before the Inquisitorial authorities to confess his sins of Judaizing and sodomy. In the context of the 16th-century Iberian world, a New Christian was either a Jewish convert to Catholicism or came from a family of converts. The Inquisition investigated both sodomy and New Christians who were accused of Judaizing, or continuing to practice Judaism in private, as both were viewed as practices in violation of the Church’s hegemony. Bautista, in his confession, reveals that he descends from a Jewish (New Christian) family, and before making his way to Bahia in colonial Brazil, he was in the Ottoman Empire, Venice, Rome, São Tomé, and Lisbon. Bautista admits to having committed sodomy throughout his travels, and at the end of the confession, the Inquisitorial authorities assign Bautista his punishment.

This is not Barrile’s first foray into the world of transcription and translation. In 2008-2009, he transcribed and translated 16th-century Portuguese manuscripts from the Historical Archives of Goa, India. He also has and continues to conduct transcription and translation of 19th-century Spanish and Portuguese documents, such as the personal correspondence of the Spanish author Benito Pérez Galdós. He thoroughly enjoys the rigors and challenges of this type of work; he finds it immensely rewarding to work with texts that are often forgotten.

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