To the End of the Earth: A History of the Crypto-Jews of New Mexico

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Overview

In 1981, while working as New Mexico State Historian, Stanley M. Hordes began to hear stories of Hispanos who lit candles on Friday night and abstained from eating pork. Puzzling over the matter, Hordes realized that these practices might very well have been passed down through the centuries from early crypto-Jewish settlers in New Spain. After extensive research and hundreds of interviews, Hordes concluded that there was, in New Mexico and the Southwest, a Sephardic legacy derived from the converso community of Spanish Jews.

In To the End of the Earth, Hordes explores the remarkable story of crypto-Jews and the tenuous preservation of Jewish rituals and traditions in Mexico and New Mexico over the past five hundred years. He follows the crypto-Jews from their Jewish origins in medieval Spain and Portugal to their efforts to escape persecution by migrating to the New World and settling in the far reaches of the northern Mexican frontier.

Drawing on individual biographies (including those of colonial officials accused of secretly practicing Judaism), family histories, Inquisition records, letters, and other primary sources, Hordes provides a richly detailed account of the economic, social and religious lives of crypto-Jews during the colonial period and after the annexation of New Mexico by the United States in 1846. While the American government offered more religious freedom than had the Spanish colonial rulers, cultural assimilation into Anglo-American society weakened many elements of the crypto-Jewish tradition.

Hordes concludes with a discussion of the reemergence of crypto-Jewish culture and the reclamation of Jewish ancestry within the Hispano community in the late twentieth century. He examines the publicity surrounding the rediscovery of the crypto-Jewish community and explores the challenges inherent in a study that attempts to reconstruct the history of a people who tried to leave no documentary record.

Columbia University Press

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Editorial Reviews

Prime Time
To the End of the Earth is a true magnum opus and a fitting conclusion to decades of research.

— David Caffey

New Mexico

For those tracking... family histories, this may prove invaluable... For any reader interested in how culture survives, this book is an inspiring one.

New Mexico Magazine

For any reader interested in how culture survives, this book is an inspiring one.

The Canadian Jewish News
The most extensively researched book on the subject to date... a compelling sociological study.

— Ze'ev Glicenstein

Santa Fe New Mexican
This book, honestly researched and beautifully written, can enlarge understanding of the troubled road followed by our evolving Western civilization.

— Marc Simmons

AVOTAYNU
A compelling sociological study.

— Bill Gladstone

Western Historical Quarterly
This is a well told and stunningly researched detective story.

— David J. Webber

Hispanic American Historical Review

Remarkable-even astonishing-though, that we have had to wait until 2005 for a book to appear on a topic that is so intrinsically interesting and that so directly links North American history with that of the Iberian Peninsula.

The Midwest Book Review
Hordes builds a compelling case that can not be easily dismissed.

— Dr. Fred Reiss

The Americas
Hordes has made an important contribution to our understanding of the religious and ethnic diversity of the Southwest and of the force that the beliefs and practices he has brought to light continues to exert in the lives of the people of the region.

— Thomas M. Cohen

El Palacio

[Hordes] reasons from past to present, and the present back to the past, constructing a message about the role of history in understanding how we see ourselves and how others see us.

H-NewMexico
By both assembling the genealogical legacy of Judaism in New Mexico, and supplementing it with rich insight into the everyday practices of crypto-Jewish communities in New Spain, Hordes has made a remarkable contribution to the study of these people.

— Kathleen Holscher

Religious Studies Review
Any scholar seriously interested in global history or putting the "American experience" in a global context would be well served to pick up a copy.

— Paul Kahan

The Public Historian
This book's combination of traditional archival research and oral history makes it a valuable addition to syllabi.

— Andrea Orzoff

Prime Time - David Caffey

To the End of the Earth is a true magnum opus and a fitting conclusion to decades of research.

The Canadian Jewish News - Ze'ev Glicenstein

The most extensively researched book on the subject to date... a compelling sociological study.

Santa Fe New Mexican - Marc Simmons

This book, honestly researched and beautifully written, can enlarge understanding of the troubled road followed by our evolving Western civilization.

AVOTAYNU - Bill Gladstone

A compelling sociological study.

Western Historical Quarterly - David J. Webber

This is a well told and stunningly researched detective story.

Doctor; The Midwest Book Review - Fred Reiss
Hordes builds a compelling case that can not be easily dismissed.
The Americas - Thomas M. Cohen

Hordes has made an important contribution to our understanding of the religious and ethnic diversity of the Southwest and of the force that the beliefs and practices he has brought to light continues to exert in the lives of the people of the region.

H-NewMexico - Kathleen Holscher

By both assembling the genealogical legacy of Judaism in New Mexico, and supplementing it with rich insight into the everyday practices of crypto-Jewish communities in New Spain, Hordes has made a remarkable contribution to the study of these people.

Religious Studies Review - Paul Kahan

Any scholar seriously interested in global history or putting the "American experience" in a global context would be well served to pick up a copy.

The Public Historian - Andrea Orzoff

This book's combination of traditional archival research and oral history makes it a valuable addition to syllabi.

The Midwest Book Review - Dr. Fred Reiss

Hordes builds a compelling case that can not be easily dismissed.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780231129374
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press
  • Publication date: 4/1/2008
  • Pages: 376
  • Sales rank: 422,362
  • Product dimensions: 5.60 (w) x 8.60 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Stanley M. Hordes is adjunct research professor at the Latin American and Iberian Institute at the University of New Mexico. He earned his Ph.D. in Mexican History at Tulane University, where he received a Fulbright Dissertation Fellowship to perform research in Mexico and Spain. He is the author of numerous articles on the history of crypto-Judaism in Mexico and the U.S. Southwest.

Columbia University Press

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Table of Contents

Table of Contents Foreword 1 The origins of crypto-Judaism on the Iberian Peninsula, 200 B.C.E.-1492 132 The crypto-Jewish experience in New Spain, 1521-1649 303 The origins of the first crypto-Jewish settlement in New Mexico : Luis de Carvajal and the failed colony of Gaspar Castano de Sosa, 1579-1591 724 Juan de Onate and the participation of crypto-Jews in the first permanent colony in New Mexico, 1595-1607 1045 Franciscans, the Inquisition, and secret Judaism in New Mexico, 1610-1680 1336 The role of crypto-Jews in the life of the New Mexico colony, 1680-1846 1777 Adjustments to Anglo-American society, 1846-1950 2158 Vestiges of crypto-Judaism in New Mexico at the turn of the twenty-first century 243App Pemphigus Vulgaris among Hispanos in New Mexico and its possible connection with crypto-Jewish populations 289

Columbia University Press

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