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Silver's purity

By the year 1492, Spain was a frontier country, in which Christianity dominated but was not the only religion. Christians of "Celtic-Iberian" roots, the Muslim community of arabic-bereber roots, and the Jewish community whose settlement had been formed more than a thousand years ago lived together in the peninsula. Historic events such as the slaughters of Tortosa in 1391, the anti-Semitic preaching of San Vicente Ferrer (1413-1415), and the expulsion of the Jewish in 1492 by the catholic kings, let many Israels' sons to convert to Catholicism. This new phenomenon was named "Cristiano nuevo", and referred to the Jewish (judioconverso) and the Moorish (morisco) that converted to Catholicism. It is essential to know this background in order to understand the concept of blood cleaning which was present from the 15 th Century ac in the statutes of military and religious orders, at halls of residence, at Inquisition, at certain town councils and the brotherhoods.

The impure were not only those who may have practised the Law of Moses, but also those individuals who were blemished from birth (genetically). Thus, purity of blood came to replace purity of faith. The purity of blood statutes were measures connected to private law, binding secular, political, military or religious institutions. The measures went beyond the expulsion provided for by the canonical or royal law: they aimed to exclude from public offices and ecclesiastical privileges the descendants of those condemned by the Holy Office "for crimes of heresy and apostasy" up to the second generation in the male line, and up to the first in the female line. Those affected were also subjected to other restrictive measures such as being forbidden to wear silk clothing, carry arms, wear jewellery or gold, or ride horses.

The statutes did not affect all social classes, and were not extended to all institutions. "The problem of purity (limpieza) was not a structural issue, but rather, essentially, the manifestation of the inevitable tensions created at the boundaries where social promotion could become a reality"(reference). Pure blood conjured the image of the old Christian with not a drop of Jewish or Muslim blood in his veins. As the 16 th Century drew to a close, the anti-statute protesters increased their attacks, in their belief that the purity of blood ideology could sink Spain into discord and lead to a civil war. The Pauline concept of mystic body , "you are the body of Christ and each one of you is a part of it"(reference), served as a doctrine for all those against the statutes.

Discrimination on the basis of impurity of blood hid a debate on social interests and a struggle for power. In the 15 th Century, the problem gradually became a struggle of interests, modifying the ethnic and religious structure of the so-called impure group. "It was about excluding the impure who were in the process of social promotion from positions of power. "Beyond the debate of the pure or impure origins of the candidate, there was a double social conflict concerning nobility of blood and a mayor of the Guild's staff" (reference).

There are four important dates in the evolution of the statutes: 1) 1449: statute of Toledo drafted by the mayor Pedro Sarmiento, 2) 1547: statute of Toledo cathedral, proclaimed by Archbishop Juan Martinez Siliceo, 3) 1556: statute of the council of Toledo, imposed by the monarchy and 4) 1623: amendment of the statutes decreed by the Count-Duke of Olivares.

This study is divided into three sections. The first, "The Jews kill Jesus" outlines the reasons offered by the studied authors to explain the conflict; the second, "The Christians segregate the Jews", deals with the consequences of the death of Jesus at the hands of the Jews, that is, how the death of Jesus has influenced the coexistence of Christians and Jews. The study provides an overview of the different authors, with the aim of faithfully reflecting their thought. The third section goes further in depth and analyses the anthropological structures lying behind the religious conflict. The expression of these anthropological structures has been manifested, is still manifested today and will continue to manifest itself in different ways.

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