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Crypto-Judaism In Mexico: Past And Present

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Chapter Summary

In the 17th century there were Crypto-Jews in New Spain whose practice of Judaism and their knowledge of Jewish beliefs were quite sophisticated. The religious foundations of their beliefs were based on five main principles: God is one; the Messiah must come because he has still not appeared; belief in the Law of Moses as a requirement for individual salvation; observance is a basic tenet besides faith; and Judaism is the preferred religion. Forced conversions invited 'Judaizers' to compare every facet of Judaism with Catholicism. This chapter considers the way the new Christians committed themselves to comply with the obligations imposed on them in order to maintain their Crypto-Judaism. Among Crypto-Jews there was the belief in the superiority of Judaism which, in some way, mitigated their continuing practice of Christianity. The Crypto-Jews who accepted only Judaism as a valid religion had two choices: try to emigrate or accept martyrdom.

Keywords: Catholicism; Crypto-Jews; Crypto-Judaism; Jewish beliefs; New Spain



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