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

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

by Stanley M. Hordes
 

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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

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.

Editorial Reviews

Prime Time - David Caffey
To the End of the Earth is a true magnum opus and a fitting conclusion to decades of research.
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 - 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.
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 - Dr. 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.
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 - 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.
Doctor; The Midwest Book Review - Fred Reiss
Hordes builds a compelling case that can not be easily dismissed.
Prime Time
To the End of the Earth is a true magnum opus and a fitting conclusion to decades of research.

— David Caffey

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

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

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

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780231503181
Publisher:
Columbia University Press
Publication date:
09/05/2005
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
376
Sales rank:
407,328
File size:
20 MB
Note:
This product may take a few minutes to download.

What People are Saying About This

John Kessell
Like a skilled tracker, Hordes pursues a prey at pains to cover its tracks, linking the bold 15th- and 16th-century persecution of Iberian Jews to a faint crypto-Jewish persistence in 21st-century New Mexico. Original, persuasive, humane.

Richard Greenleaf
A pathfinding work of collective biography and ethnohistory. Hordes makes a fundamental contribution to emerging social structure in New Mexico and the Southwest, authoritatively researched in Iberian and Mexican archives. This book breaks new ground in Diaspora studies. It illuminates the rewarding possibility of research in Inquisition trials, and the valuable data in Inquisition records outside of the trials per se. It documents the often-held view that there is other gold in the Indies.

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.


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