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

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

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Johns Hopkins University Press


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

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781421401966
Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
Publication date: 07/19/2011
Edition description: second edition
Pages: 248
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.70(d)

Table of Contents

List of Mapsix
1Renegade Jew: Luis de la Ysla21
2Sexuality and the Marriage Sacrament: Elena/Eleno de Cespedes36
3Miguel de Piedrola: The "Soldier-Prophet"60
4The Price of Conversion: Francisco de San Antonio and Mariana de los Reyes88
5A Captive's Tale: Diego Diaz119
6Keeping the Faith: Dona Blanca Mendez de Rivera152

What People are Saying About This

Carla Rahn Phillips

These case histories, culled from the voluminous records of inquisitorial proceedings, introduce us to a fascinating group of characters. Their testimonies, carefully shaped and edited for modern readers, will be a welcome addition to course readings on society and religion in early modern Europe.

Carla Rahn Phillips, Mellon Senior Fellow, 2003, The John Carter Brown Library

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