This excellent volume is a selection of 16 papers originally presented at a Tulane conference in honor of Richard Greenleaf. The articles are a rich sampler of recent work on religion in New Spain, providing new insights into how religion functioned socially and culturally, depending on region, race, and class, as well as how the Catholic Church as an institution responded in local situations.

Several contributions utilize Inquisition records or deal with the Holy Office directly. Of outstanding importance is María Elena Martínez’s article closely examining the development of the concept of purity of blood in Spain, its codification in statutes, and its application in colonial Mexico. In New Spain, Old Christian status became a critical test for men’s suitability for both civil and religious offices by rigorous investigation of candidates’ ancestry. Martínez contends that, in the colonial context, it became also a basis for categories in the sistema de...

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