* Discussion questions for The Heretic … a novel of Jewish history in the 15th c.

Posted by Lew Weinstein on April 22, 2013

The Heretic - new cover

I was recently asked to prepare discussion questions for a book club that is reading The Heretic. Here’s my list …

NOTE: I can do book club appearances via SKYPE anywhere in the world.


Discussion questions for The Heretic, a novel by Lewis M. Weinstein

1. Did you know about the Church’s persecution of Jews in 15th c. Spain? Did you find it surprising?

2. What do you think prompted the Church’s actions?

3.Was the description of the earliest printing interesting to you?

4. What did you know about Queen Isabel before reading The Heretic? Were you surprised by her portrayal in the book?

5. How would you compare the relationships between …

… Gabriel & Pilar

… Tomas & Esther

… Isabel & Fernando

… Tomas & Isabel

6. Why did the attempts to convert the Jews of Spain not work out as anticipated?

7. What did you think of Prince Hasan, and his friendship with Benjamin and Esther?

8. Did Prince Hasan conform to your image of a Moorish leader?

9. Why do you think the author selected 15th c. Spain for exploring the issues of hatred of Jews?

10. Do you see a connection between the Church’s attitude toward Jews in 15th c. Spain and the Church’s behavior in Germany before and during the Holocaust?

11. What did you learn about Judaism, and the connections between Judaism and Christianity?

12. What did you think of Tomas’s discussion with the rabbi in Seville regarding the plausibility of the virgin birth of Christ?

13. Did you think Friar Perez believed in the mission he had been assigned or did he have doubts?

14. Who do you think was the ultimate victor in the battle between Friar Perez and Gabriel Catalan?

15. What were the most emotional scenes for you? Did you cry?

16. Which do you remember as the most memorable scenes?

17. Were there scenes that made you cringe? Do you think those scenes were necessary to the story?

18. Was there anything in the story you found not quite believable?

19. How true do you think the story was to the actual history?

20. Were you surprised at the positive reaction of Catholic leaders to this book which is surely not a flattering portrayal of the Church?

21. Were you curious how the author got blurbs from Elie Wiesel and Alan Dershowitz … (those are, by the way, two fascinating stories)

wiesel & dershowitz.

Elie Wiesel & Alan Dershowitz


purchase The Heretic at amazon …

$5.99 in Kindle (also available for Nook) … $14.95 in paper

The Heretic


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: