MarranosThe Other of the Other
The Other of the Other
Translated by David Broder

Marranos were Spanish or Portuguese Jews who converted to Christianity at the time of the Spanish Inquisition to avoid being massacred or forced to flee but who continued to practise Judaism in secret. They were persecuted by the first racist blood laws but the water of forced baptism was not enough to make them assimilate.   

Donatella Di Cesare sees the marranos as the quintessential figures of the modern condition: the marranos were not just those whom modernity cast out as the ‘other’, but were those ‘others’ who were forced to disavow their beliefs and conceal themselves.  They became ‘the other of the other’, doubly excluded, condemned to a life of existential duplicity with no way out, spurned by both Catholics and Jews and unable to belong fully to either community.  But this double life of the marranos turned out to be a secret source of strength.  Doubly estranged, with no possibility of redemption, the marranos became modernity’s first true radicals.  Dissidents out of necessity, they inaugurated modernity with their ambivalence and their split self. And their story is not over.    

By treating the history of the marranos as a prism through which to grasp the defining features of modernity, this highly original book will be of interest to a wide readership.

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  • October 2020 (hb)
    November 2020 (pb)
  • 126 pages
  • 125 x 193 mm / 5 x 8 in
Available Formats
  • Hardback $45.00
  • 9781509542031
  • Paperback $12.95
  • 9781509542048
  • Open eBook $10.00
  • 9781509542055
Table of Contents
The Last Jews: to Begin
Romantic heroes or Cowardly Renegades?
Esther, and another Sovereignty
Convert and Flee!
When it All Began
Between Silence and Nostalgia
‘New Christians’?
The Other of the Other
An Existential Duplicity
The Discovery of the Self
Water and Blood. From Toledo to Nuremberg
The Great Purge
Flight and Withdrawal
The Theology of the Marranos
Teresa d’Ávila and the Interior Castle
‘Válete por ti!’
An Insult and its Fantastic History
The Planetary Aarchipelago and the Anarchic Nation
The ‘New Jews’, between Livorno and Amsterdam
Messianic Sparks
Spinoza, Democracy, the Freedom of the Secret
The Political Laboratory of Modernity
Marranism in the Third Reich
The Counter-History of the Defeated and the Revenge of the Marranos
‘The Marrano is a Spectre I love’
The Secret of Remembrance – the Recollection of the Secret
To find out more
About the Author
Donatella Di Cesare is Professor of Theoretical Philosophy at the Sapienza University of Rome.
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"This short and powerful book by Di Cesare not only tells the history and legacy of the Marranos – the crypto-Jews of Spain and Portugal – but, far more importantly, traces the disquieting, undisclosed implications of a phenomenon that few have yet to grasp: the rise of modern identity defined as a twinned concept where there is no false self but no true self either."
André Aciman, author of Out of Egypt and Call Me By Your Name

"An engrossing and enlightening account of the prelude, enactment, and consequences of the Spanish Inquisition focusing on Jewish victims."
Jewish Tribune
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