Boek cover Anthology of Religious Poetry from the Mexican Inquisition Trials of 16th-Century CryptoJews van Mark a Schneegurt

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

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Complete Collection of Poetry and Prayers

from the

Carvajal Clan of Jews in Colonial Mexico City

Presented in Spanish with Full English Translation

Jewish Martyrs – Burned at the Stake for the Laws of Moses

All of the Poetry from the Original Inquisition Trial Transcripts of
Luis de Carvajal, el Mozo
Leonor de Andrada
Isabel Rodríguez
Justa Mendez
Francesca de Carvajal
Manuel de Lucena
and Leonor de Cáceres

With excerpts from the trials of Sebastián Rodríguez, Lic. Manuel López de Morales, Francisco López Blandón, and others.

Cantico 6 from Leonor de Carvajal

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...

Keeping Judaism Alive After 100 Years in Exile

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 fé 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!

Keeping Judaism Alive Today, 400 Years Later

There is intrinsic historical value in preserving this richest cultural remnant of a Jewish sect from the risk and obscurity of single-copy documents in library special collections. The poems are moving and beautiful, depicting a deep faith in the Lord and a constant striving to live more virtuously to gain His favor. Poems from the tongues of Jewish martyrs, that gave up everything, including their lives, withstanding torture and years of imprisonment, but refusing to abandon the Laws of Moses.

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