Between Christians and Moriscos: Juan de Ribera and Religious Reform in Valencia, 1568-1614

Overview

In early modern Spain the monarchy's universal policy to convert all of its subjects to Christianity did not end distinctions among ethnic religious groups, but rather made relations between them more contentious. Old Christians, those whose families had always been Christian, defined themselves in opposition to forcibly baptized Muslims ( moriscos) and Jews ( conversos). Here historian Benjamin Ehlers studies the relations between Christians and moriscos in Valencia by ...

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Overview

In early modern Spain the monarchy's universal policy to convert all of its subjects to Christianity did not end distinctions among ethnic religious groups, but rather made relations between them more contentious. Old Christians, those whose families had always been Christian, defined themselves in opposition to forcibly baptized Muslims ( moriscos) and Jews ( conversos). Here historian Benjamin Ehlers studies the relations between Christians and moriscos in Valencia by analyzing the ideas and policies of archbishop Juan de Ribera.

Juan de Ribera, a young reformer appointed to the diocese of Valencia in 1568, arrived at his new post to find a congregation deeply divided between Christians and moriscos. He gradually overcame the distrust of his Christian parishioners by intertwining Tridentine themes such as the Eucharist with local devotions and holy figures. Over time Ribera came to identify closely with the interests of his Christian flock, and his hagiographers subsequently celebrated him as a Valencian saint.

Ribera did not engage in a similarly reciprocal exchange with the moriscos; after failing to effect their true conversion through preaching and parish reform, he devised a covert campaign to persuade the king to banish them. His portrayal of the moriscos as traitors and heretics ultimately justified the Expulsion of 1609–1614, which Ribera considered the triumphant culmination of the Reconquest.

Ehler's sophisticated yet accessible study of the pluralist diocese of Valencia is a valuable contribution to the study of Catholic reform, moriscos, Christian-Muslim relations in early modern Spain, and early modern Europe.

Johns Hopkins University Press

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Editorial Reviews

American Historical Review - Hilaire Kallendorf

Well researched and clearly presented.

Renaissance Quarterly - James B. Tueller

Excellent study.

Year's Work in Modern Language Studies - Carmen Peraita

Engagingly studies the conflicts in Valencia between local elites and the viceroy and the archbishop, agents of central government.

Bulletin of Spanish Studies - Grace Magnier

Between Christians and Moriscos is a carefully researched and highly readable work that shows with impartiality the complexity of Ribera, whose arguments were much used in the theological justification of the expulsion of the Moriscos.

Journal of Modern History - Mary Halavais

Between Christians and Moriscos is a fine and welcome contribution to the history of early modern Spain.

European History Quarterly - David Coleman

The book’s greatest strength lies... in the highly original and well-crafted insight it provides.

Church History - Carlos M. N. Eire

Surely, this book is destined to become required reading for all who are interested in early modern history and especially for those who have a special interest in Spain and Catholicism or in the history of Christian-Muslim relations.

Sixteenth Century Journal - William A. Christian Jr.

A well-documented, measured, subtle, and dispassionate look at the evolution of one of Spain's longest-tenured and powerful churchmen.

American Historical Review
Well researched and clearly presented.

— Hilaire Kallendorf

Renaissance Quarterly
Excellent study.

— James B. Tueller

Bulletin of Spanish Studies
Between Christians and Moriscos is a carefully researched and highly readable work that shows with impartiality the complexity of Ribera, whose arguments were much used in the theological justification of the expulsion of the Moriscos.

— Grace Magnier

Year's Work in Modern Language Studies
Engagingly studies the conflicts in Valencia between local elites and the viceroy and the archbishop, agents of central government.

— Carmen Peraita

Church History
Surely, this book is destined to become required reading for all who are interested in early modern history and especially for those who have a special interest in Spain and Catholicism or in the history of Christian-Muslim relations.

— Carlos M. N. Eire

European History Quarterly
The book’s greatest strength lies... in the highly original and well-crafted insight it provides.

— David Coleman

Journal of Modern History
Between Christians and Moriscos is a fine and welcome contribution to the history of early modern Spain.

— Mary Halavais

Sixteenth-Century Journal
A well-documented, measured, subtle, and dispassionate look at the evolution of one of Spain's longest-tenured and powerful churchmen.

— William A. Christian Jr.

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Benjamin Ehlers is an assistant professor of history at the University of Georgia.

Johns Hopkins University Press

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