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Francisco Maldonado da Silva

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Title: Francisco Maldonado da Silva  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: List of Chile-related topics, Conversos, History of the Jews in Chile, Argentine Jews, 1639
Collection: 1592 Births, 1639 Deaths, 17Th-Century Executions by Spain, Argentine Jews, Argentine People Executed by Burning, Argentine People of Portuguese-Jewish Descent, Captaincy General of Chile, Chilean Jews, Chilean People Executed by Burning, Conversos, Jewish Martyrs, People Executed by Spain by Burning, People Executed by the Spanish Inquisition, People Executed for Heresy, People Executed for Refusing to Convert to Christianity, People from San Miguel De Tucumán, Victims of Antisemitic Violence, Victims of the Inquisition
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Francisco Maldonado da Silva

Francisco Maldonado da Silva (1592 –1639) was an Argentine marrano physician, was burned at the stake with eleven other Jews in Lima, in the largest Auto-da-fé recorded in history.

Francisco was born in San Miguel de Tucumán to a marrano family of Portuguese Jewish background. He learned about his Jewishness through his father Diego Nuñez da Silva, who was a Jewish physician. Francisco studied the scriptures while he was a medical student. After a few years in Chile he decided to assume fully his Jewishness and stop hiding as a Christian (marrano), circumcising himself and adopting a new name Eli Nazareno or Elijah the Nazarite.[1][2] He grew his hair and beard and started signing his name "Heli Nazareo, unworthy servant of God of Israel, alias Silva".[3] He was abducted at night and taken to Lima where he was held in the secret prisons of the Inquisition for 6 years, during those years he was confronted 13 times with Christian theologians to try to help him find the "True Faith". His astounding knowledge made him valuable even to his enemies. He was held accountable for the heresy of honoring the "law of Moses", something objectionable to the Holy Inquisition.

At the time of his death, he had been imprisoned since 1627.[4] According to a 2010 book, he was imprisoned because he tried to convert his two sisters, who had converted to Catholicism, and they denounced him.[5]

Further reading

  • Bodian, Miriam (2007). Dying in the Law of Moses: Crypto-Jewish Martyrdom in the Iberian World. Indiana University Press. p. 129-152. Retrieved May 7, 2015.


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  • Aguinis, Marcos. La Gesta del Marrano. Buenos Aires: Planeta, 1991.
  • Kohut, George Alexander. "The Trial of Fransisco Maldonado De Silva." In Publications of the American Jewish Historical Society Vol. 11 (1903), pp. 163–189.

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