Inquisitorial Inquiries: Brief Lives of Secret Jews and Other Heretics / Edition 2

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Overview

On the first day of Francisco de San Antonio's 1625 trial before the Spanish Inquisition, his interrogators asked him for his life story. His real name, he stated, was Abram Ruben, and he had been born in Fez of Jewish parents. How then, Inquisitors wanted to know, had he become a Christian convert? Why had a Hebrew alphabet been found in his possession? And what was his business at the Court in Madrid? His response, more than ten folios long, is one of many involuntary autobiographies created by the Inquisition that provide rich insights into the personal lives of the persecuted and the social, cultural, and political realities of the age.

Richard L. Kagan and Abigail Dyer have collected, translated, and annotated autobiographies from six prisoners, five tried in Europe and one in Mexico. Each of the autobiographies has been selected to represent a particular political or social issue, and they raise intimate questions about the religious, sexual, political, or national identity of the prisoners. Among them are a politically incendiary prophet; a self-proclaimed hermaphrodite charged with violating the sacrament of marriage for marrying a woman; a female convert to Catholicism who betrayed her Jewish origins by serving as a rabbi and preaching heretical doctrine in the New World; and a morisco, an Islamic convert to Catholicism who claimed to have been circumcised against his will. In their introduction, Kagan and Dyer stress the "collaborative" nature of these texts, citing the coercion involved and the purpose of the interrogations that solicited them. Making these invaluable primary sources available for the first time in English, Inquisitorial Inquiries will be of interest to students and scholars of early modern Europe, colonial Latin America, gender studies, and religious history.

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Editorial Reviews

Sixteenth Century Journal
A highly readable account... provides a very useful look into the lives of individuals whose activities brought them before the Inquisition.
Journal of Church and State
Kagan and Dyer have provided a useful service in translating excerpts from inquisitorial documents housed in Spanish and Mexican archives.
Year's Work in Modern Language Studies

Fascinating collection.

— Carmen Peraita

Gender and History
Through depositions related to Judaism, Islam, heretical Christianity and sexual deviance, the book effectively addresses many of the ethnic, racial, religious, and social tensions that plagued early modern Spain and its colonies... An excellent resource for the history classroom.
Renaissance Studies
The editors of this volume have performed a useful service for anyone interested in the Inquisition's activities.
History
The authors have edited and translated the original documents with skill and sensitivity and accompanied each testimony with useful explanatory notes. The resulting autobiographies are of primary importance to historians of the period for what they teach us about prisoners’ lives, their tactics of dissimulation and the power of their testimony which, it might be argued, went as far as to challenge the authority of the Inquisition itself.
Sixteenth-Century Journal
A highly readable account... provides a very useful look into the lives of individuals whose activities brought them before the Inquisition.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781421401966
  • Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
  • Publication date: 7/19/2011
  • Edition description: second edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 248
  • Sales rank: 1,382,464
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Richard L. Kagan is a professor of history at the Johns Hopkins University and author or editor of a number of books, including Clio and the Crown: The Politics of History in Medieval and Early Modern Spain and Atlantic Diasporas: Jews, Conversos, and Crypto-Jews in the Age of Mercantilism, 1500–1800, both also published by Johns Hopkins. Abigail Dyer received her Ph.D. from Columbia University and is an independent scholar living in New York.

Johns Hopkins University Press

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Table of Contents

1 Renegade Jew : Luis de la Ysla 21
2 Sexuality and the marriage sacrament : Elena/Eleno de Cespedes 36
3 Miguel de Piedrola : the "soldier-prophet" 60
4 The price of conversion : Francisco de San Antonio and Mariana de los Reyes 88
5 A captive's tale : Diego Diaz 119
6 Keeping the faith : Dona Blanca Mendez de Rivera 152
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