By Lucia Helena Costigan
This publication analyzes literary writings and inquisitorial stories produced through members of Jewish historical past who lived within the Iberian Atlantic in the course of the 16th, 17th and eighteenth centuries, and the position they performed within the growth of the Ib
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Extra resources for Through Cracks in the Wall: Modern Inquisitions and New Christian Letrados in the Iberian Atlantic World
Later, during the reign of João V of Portugal (– ), the activities of the Inquisition intensified against Portuguese and Brazilian New Christians. Once again, we see the connections between imperial policies and the Inquisition through the discourse of the subjects studied in this book. What links these different contexts and historical moments is the shadow of religious persecution, particularly of New Christians. The corpus that I have collected of written and oral discourses of New Christian letrados forms a quilt that provides insight into the conflicts of European empires in the Iberian world, and particularly in the Spanish and Portuguese colonies of the Americas, during the early modern period.
The viceroy chose Juan de Oñate, “the son of a wealthy and powerful minor, and himself a descendent of converted Jews to serve as adelantado” (). Hordes also states that some members of the Castaño de Sosa’s aborted expedition were invited by Oñate to form his retinue. Although Hordes believes that the Inquisition in the New World showed more toleration than persecution toward crypto-Jews, the cases mentioned in his study reveal that inquisitional persecution of New Christians, particularly those of Portuguese background, occurred often during the period that extends from the last two decades of the sixteenth century until approximately .
In my analysis of Teixeira’s discourse—specifically of his epic poem and Inquisition trial proceedings—I emphasize the subtle yet marked criticism that a missing link the New Christian from Pernambuco directed against the Spanish royal and religious authorities for taking advantage of the Portuguese Inquisition to persecute descendents of Jews. I also point to the emergence of imperial conflict involving Spain, the Netherlands, and England, as well as the creole consciousness or the sense of self-awareness and identification with the New World that appears in the verses of his Prosopopéia.