Secrecy and Deceit: The Religion of the Crypto-Jews

Overview

This important history documents the religious customs of the crypto-Jewish culture in Spain, Portugal, and their American colonies, principally Mexico, Peru, and Brazil. In coping with clandestineness, crypto-Jews rapidly evolved their own idiosyncratic religion. Its Jewish core was quickly replaced with concepts and practices from the surrounding Catholic culture covered by a veneer of Jewish theology. Included in this award-winning volume are examinations of crypto-Jewish beliefs, superstitions, birth customs,...
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Overview

This important history documents the religious customs of the crypto-Jewish culture in Spain, Portugal, and their American colonies, principally Mexico, Peru, and Brazil. In coping with clandestineness, crypto-Jews rapidly evolved their own idiosyncratic religion. Its Jewish core was quickly replaced with concepts and practices from the surrounding Catholic culture covered by a veneer of Jewish theology. Included in this award-winning volume are examinations of crypto-Jewish beliefs, superstitions, birth customs, education, marriage and sex, holidays, dietary laws, conversions and death, and burial practices. Secrecy and Deceit provides a comprehensive account of the customs of these secret Jews.

"Secrecy and Deceit provides rare glimpses into a subject that is increasingly fascinating to many different audiences."--Jane S. Gerber, Director, Institute for Sephardic Studies, CUNY Graduate Center

"Historians and students of comparative and popular religion will be drawing on this work for years."--Haym Soloveitchik, Yeshiva University

Winner of the National Jewish Book Award and the Lucy B. Davidowicz History Award

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Gitlitz's magnum opus provides a full and fascinating history of the quixotic religion developed by the Jews who were forced to convert to Catholicism in early modern Spain. The religion they secretly developed later traveled to the New World colonies. Gitlitz reconstructs the religion and its history from an exhaustive selection of sources, including trial records under the Inquisition. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780826328137
  • Publisher: University of New Mexico Press
  • Publication date: 4/12/2002
  • Series: Jewish Latin America Series
  • Pages: 700
  • Product dimensions: 6.90 (w) x 9.90 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author


David M. Gitlitz, of the University of Rhode Island, is a scholar-administrator who over the last two decades has divided his time among research on Sephardic historical topics, Spanish Golden Age literature, pilgrimage studies, and university administration and teaching.
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Table of Contents

Preface
Introduction
Converso Chronology
Pt. I Historical Introduction 1
Ch. I Conversions and Conversos through 1492 3
Ch. II Conversos after 1492 35
Ch. III The Major Points of Controversy 73
Pt. II The Religious Customs of the Crypto-Jews 97
Ch. IV The Crypto-Jewish Belief System 99
Ch. V Attitudes toward Christian Beliefs 135
Ch. VI Superstitions 183
Ch. VII Birth Customs 199
Ch. VIII Education 217
Ch. IX Marriage and Sex 243
Ch. X Ritual Purification and Hygiene 271
Ch. XI Death and Funeral Customs 277
Ch. XII Sabbath Customs 317
Ch. XIII Holidays 355
Ch. XIV Books 425
Ch. XV Crypto-Jewish Ritual and Prayer 443
Ch. XVI Oaths 501
Ch. XVII Communal Organizations, Synagogues, Rabbis 507
Ch. XVIII Clothing and Ceremonial Items 523
Ch. XIX Food and Dietary Laws 531
Ch. XX Conversion 563
Ch. XXI The Social Contexts of Crypto-Judaism 587
App Edict of Faith 625
Works Cited 629
Index 653
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