Marranos on Moradas: Secret Jews and Penitentes in the Southwestern United States

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Two groups were persecuted over four hundred years in what is now the south-western United States, each dissimulating and disguising who they truly were. Both now declare their true identities, yet raise hostility. The Penitentes are a lay Catholic brotherhood that practised bloody rites of self-flagellation and crucifixion, but claim this is a misrepresentation and that they are a community and charitable organisation. Marranos, an ambiguous and complicated population of Sephardic descendants, claim to be anousim. Both people have a complex, shared history. This book disentangles the web, redefines the terms, and creates new contexts in which these groups are viewed with respect and sympathy without idealising or slandering them. It uses rabbinics, literary analyses, psychohistory, and cultural anthropology to consolidate a history of mentalities.