Anthology of Religious Poetry

 from the Mexican InquisitionnTrials of 16th-Century CryptoJews

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Anthology of Religious Poetry
from the Mexican Inquisition Trials
of 16th-Century CryptoJews

Complete Collection of Poetry and Prayers
from the Carvajal Clan in Ciolonial Mexico
Presented in Spanish from Original Trial Transcripts
with First English Translation

A century after being expelled from Portugal, cryptoJews in Mexico, false converts to Christianity, could not speak of their beliefs for fear of becoming embroiled in the imprisonment, torture, and death in flames that characterized the Inquisition. Without written texts, the Jewish liturgy lost, clans of cryptoJews created a unique body of religious poetry, connecting them to the Laws of Moses, seeking redemption from sin, or hoping for an escape from their embittered lives. The Carvajal clan was led by Luis el Mozo, an alumbrado, a mystic, and his Judaizing sisters. Once discovered to be secretly practicing Judaism, years of suffering at the hands of the Inquisitors were meticulously recorded in the transcripts of their long demeaning trials. The Carvajal's friends, spouses, children and grandchildren were implicated as Judaizers, with many being reconciled by the Church to secular authorities to be burned alive at massive public ceremonies. The burning of Luis and his sisters was the main attraction for cheering crowds at the auto de fe of 1596 in Mexico City. The cruelty of the Inquisitors was matched by their attention to legal detail and testimonies made at trial. Buried within thousands of pages of transcripts, hiding in library special collections of rare books around the world are the only remnants of the religious poetry that sustained cryptoJews hiding in Mexico.

Anthology uncovers these hidden treasures!

Cantico 6
Cuan suave cossa es deleytossa
muy mas que nayde save ymaginar
sequir aquella via muy gloriossa
por donde Dios nos manda caminar
toda la ley de Dios es muy sabrossa
y aquel que la ossare blasfemar
blasfemados sera en aquella vida
a donde no ay tiempo cierto ni medida...

How pleasant it is, how delightful,
much more than anybody knows to imagine
to follow this very glorious path
whereby God commands us to walk;
the whole law of God is very pleasant,
and he who dares to blaspheme,
cursed will they be in that life
where there is no certain time nor measure...