FORUM FOR ANTHROPOLOGY AND CULTUREANTROPOLOGICHESKIJ FORUM
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Antropologicheskij forum, 2021, no. 49
A Review of G. S. ZELENINA, OGNENNYY VRAG MARRANOV: ZHIZN I SMERT POD NADZOROM INKVIZITSII [The Fiery Enemy of the Marranos: Life and Death under the Supervision of the Inquisition]. Moscow; St Petersburg: Center for Humanitarian Initiatives Press, 2018, 396 pp.
Institute of Oriental Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences
Abstract: The book by the well-known historian and anthropologist Galina Zelenina deals with some problems of the historical experience of baptized Jews in the Pyrenean peninsula. The scholar explores some issues of life under the severe control of the Inquisition and social surroundings through the perspective of cultural anthropology, stressing the problems of the “silent majority” and its identity. Zelenina emphasizes that conversos were located between two worlds whilst being Others to both, relativists and multiculturalists of the period. She also stresses the ethnic and racial aspects of enmity towards Marranos in Spain and Portugal. This ethnic component of anti-Jewish attitudes were, according to the author, first signs of the racial anti-Semitism of the 19th–20th centuries. Drawing on various sources, Zelenina considers different issues of the life and experiences of crypto-Jews under circumstances of control and hatred. Among these were rites of passage, rituals which canceled baptism, the role of women in the rituals of “new Christians”, general gender aspects of the culture of conversos, food practices of Marranos, and the specific “competition” of narratives about sanctity between Christians and crypto-Jews. The scholar pays attention to the specifics of the bloody libel against “new Christians” in Spain and deviant sexuality which was often connected with Jews and Marranos. Concluding her book, Zelenina returns to the racial aspect of many accusations against Jews of the period under investigation and considers them from an anthropological perspective.
Keywords: Jews, Marranos, folk culture, Inquisition, Spain, Portugal.
To cite: Nosenko-Stein E., ‘A Review of G. S. Zelenina, Ognennyy vrag marranov: zhizn i smert pod nadzorom inkvizitsii’ [The Fiery Enemy of the Marranos: Life and Death under the Supervision of the Inquisition]. Moscow; St Petersburg: Center for Humanitarian Initiatives Press, 2018, 396 pp.’, Antropologicheskij forum, 2021, no. 49, pp. 223–232.
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