The Jesuit Order as a Synagogue of Jews 

Jesuits of Jewish Ancestry and Purity-of-Blood Laws in the Early Society of Jesus


In The Jesuit Order as a Synagogue of Jews the author explains how Christians with Jewish family backgrounds went within less than forty years from having a leading role in the foundation of the Society of Jesus to being prohibited from membership in it. The author works at the intersection to two important historical topics, each of which attracts considerable scholarly attention but that have never received sustained and careful attention together, namely, the early modern histories of the Jesuit order and of Iberian “purity of blood” concerns.
An analysis of the pro- and anti-converso texts in this book (both in terms of what they are claiming and what their limits are) advance our understanding of early modern, institutional Catholicism at the intersection of early modern religious reform and the new racism developing in Spain and spreading outwards.
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Robert A. Maryks, Ph.D. (2006) History, Fordham University, is Associate Professor of History at Bronx CC of the City University of New York. He has published extensively on the history of Jesuits, including Saint Cicero and the Jesuits: The Influence of the Liberal Arts on the Adoption of Moral Probabilism (Ashgate, 2008) and The Jesuit Order as a Synagogue of Jews: Jesuits of Jewish Ancestry and Purity-of-Blood Laws in the Early Society of Jesus (Brill, 2009).
“This is a solid, scholarly volume that offers new material and new viewpoints on a theme that continues to excite interest.”
Henry Kamen, Barcelona. In: The Journal of Ecclesiastical History Vol. 62, No. 4 (October 2011), pp. 832-833.

"splendid book" ... "This is required reading for all students of early Jesuit history, and it will also be of great interest to historians of early modern attitudes toward religious and racial difference".
Jonathan Wright, Hartlepool. In: Theological Studies, Vol. 71, No. 4 (December 2010), pp. 963-964.

"tightly focused, highly erudite, fascinating" [...] "The argument in each chapter is supported by copious quotations from primary sources, many of them unpublished and little-known. To a nonspecialist Maryks’s expertise in this huge body of Jesuit literature is dazzling, and it is hard to imagine how he could be refuted. This is about as solid a piece of historical argumentation as I have ever seen. Despite the detail and erudition of the text, Maryks keeps the story moving from one point to the next". [...] "This is a book for academics, and it is specialized, but it is an excellent and important work with implications that go far beyond its immediate topic".
Matt Goldosh, The Ohio State University. In: Renaissance Quarterly, 63 (Winter 2010), pp. 1344-1345.

“The Jesuit Order as a Synagogue of Jews provides a profound and convincing analysis — based on extensive archival work — of the conflict between theory and practice in the Society of Jesus.”
Thomas M. Cohen, The Catholic University of America. In: The Catholic Historical Review, Vol. 99, No. 2 (April 2013), pp. 355-356.

“highly engaging and remarkably erudite … Maryks has crafted a scholarly and exciting volume that explores a fascinating theme with care and sophistication ... This is a remarkable book that will be of great interest to a diverse range of scholars from many different fields of study and research.”
Dean Phillip Bell, Spertus Institute, Chicago. In: Studies in Christian-Jewish Relations Vol. 8, No. 1 (2013).

"Die Arbeit von Maryks ist gut dokumentiert und flüssig geschrieben... Der intendierte, „different reading of the sources and secondary literature“ (S. XXXII) aufgrund von Archivmaterial ist Maryks weitgehend gelungen."
Mariano Delgado, In: Freiburger Zeitschrift für Philosophie und Theologie, Vol. 58, no. 2, (2011), pp. 596-598.

"una investigación rica y sugerente".
Juan A. Estrada. In: Archivo Teológico Granadino, Vol. 75 (2012), pp. 258-259.
List of Abbreviations
List of Illustrations


1. The Historical Context of Purity-of-Blood Discrimination (1391-1547)
Sentencia-Estatuto of Mayor Pero de Sarmiento (1449)
Alonso de Cartagena and Fray Alonso de Oropesa
Purity-of-blood Statutes of Archbishop Silíceo (1547)
Defensio Toletani Statuti of Bishop Diego de Simancas (1573)

2. Early Jesuit Pro-converso Policy (1540-72)
Ignatius of Loyola as a “deep spiritual Semite”
Jerónimo Nadal’s Opposition to the Purity-of-blood Legislation
The Converso Triumvirate: the Election of Diego Laínez
Francisco de Borja’s Infinite Love of Conversos

Chapter 3. Discrimination Against Jesuits of Jewish Lineage (1573-93)
Italo-Portuguese Anti-converso Lobby at General Congregation Three
Everard Mercurian’s “House Cleansing”
Memorialistas’ Revolt against Rome
Benedetto Palmio’s Converso-phobic Memorial
Claudio Acquaviva’s Discriminatory Measures

Chapter 4. Jesuit Opposition to the Purity-of-blood Discrimination (1576-1608)
Antonio Possevino
Diego de Guzmán
Pedro de Ribadeneyra
García Girón de Alarcón
Juan de Mariana

Appendix I
Appendix II
All those interested in converso and Jesuit history, the history of Catholicism, the history of late medieval and early modern Iberia and Italy, as well as Spanish literature historians, historians of law, and theologians.
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