‎October 18, 1739
António Jose Da Silva, Burned in the fires of the Inquisition

By Jorge Neves (ver www.friendsofmarranos.blogspot)
Translation by mlopesazevedo

António Jose Da Silva (Rio De Janeiro, 8 of May of 1705 - Lisbon, 18 of October of 1739) was a Luso-Brazilian playwright and writer. António Jose was the son of a lawyer and poet who succeeded in keeping his Jewish faith a secret. His mother, Lourença Coutinho was less successful. Accused of Judaism, she was deported to Portugal where she was processed by the Inquisition. Afterwards, Antonio's father decided to leave for Portugal, to be next to his wife, taking the young António with him. António Jose Da Silva studied law at the University of Coimbra, where he enrolled in 1725/6.

Interested in the dramatic arts, he wrote a satire, which served as a pretext by the authorities to arrest him, accusing him of Judaizing. He was tortured, becoming partially invalid for some weeks, which impeded him from signing his “reconciliation” with the Church Catholic, completing it in the “auto de fe” (ie. a public spectacle known as the “act of faith”). Finally, he was freed.

António Jose Da Silva started in law but ended up dedicating himself to writing, becoming the most famous Portuguese playwright of his time (some have described him as the Portuguese Moliere). He was a prolific writer, having written satires criticizing the Portuguese society of the time. His comedies became known as the work of a Jew and were frequently staged in Portugal in the 1730s.

Influenced by the egalitarian ideas of the French Enlightenment, the playwright linked himself to a group of ex-patriots (estrangeirados), consisting of eminent figures such as the Brazilian Alexander de Gusmão (1695-1753), the principal advisor to of king D. João V. His theatrical works were inspired by the spirit and the language of the people, breaking with the classic models and incorporating song and music as an element of the performance. Eight of his operas, published in 1744, in two volumes, entitled “Portuguese comic theatre”, were recovered in 1940 by the researcher, Luis Freitas Branco. Later the musicologist Felipe de Souza confirmed the partnership of António Jose with the priest Antonio Teixeira, author of the music. [1] [2]

In 1737, António was imprisoned by the Inquisition, together with his mother and his wife (Leonor de Carvalho, whom he married in 1728, who was also his cousin and and a Jewess). His mother and wife were later released. António Jose Da Silva was again tortured. It was discovered that he was circumcised . A black slave testified that he observed Shabbat. The case proceeded with notorious bad faith on part of the Tribunal and António Jose Da Silva was condemned, although a reading of the sentence makes it apparent that he was not in fact a Judaizer. As it was rule with convicted prisoners who wished to die in the Catholic faith, António Jose Da Silva was garroted before being burnt in the Auto de Fe in Lisbon in October of 1739.

His wife , who attended his death, died shortly afterwards. The history of this author inspired Santareno Bernardo, himself of Jewish origin, to write the play, “The Jew”. More recently, the life of António Jose Da Silva was depicted by Tom Job Azulay in the film, “The Jew”, in 1995. In the film, António Jose was played by the actor Philip Pinheiro, who died during the filming.