Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Pedro Moya De Contreras: Catholic Reform and Royal Power in New Spain, 1571-1591

Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Pedro Moya De Contreras: Catholic Reform and Royal Power in New Spain, 1571-1591

Article excerpt

Poole, Stafford. Pedro Moya de Contreras: Catholic Reform and Royal Power in New Spain, 1571-1591. Second edition. (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press. 2011. Pp. xiv, 365. $45.00 paperback. ISBN 978-0-80614171-8.)

Stafford Poole's political and intellectual biography of Mexico's first inquisitor general and later archbishop first appeared in 1987. Poole's Pedro Moya de Contreras appeared as a deeply researched and nuanced study of a complex man, firmly situated in the historiography of institutional church history. As trends and fads have come and gone or come and become part of the scholarly lexicon- cultural studies, post-structuralism, cultural historyPoole's biography has come to be one of those works that stand out as an exemplar for those seeking an understanding of the religious politics of sixteenth-century Mexico. It ranks among the best institutional histories we have for the subject and the period along with Robert Ricard's Spiritual Conquest (Berkeley, 1966), Richard Greenleaf's studies on Juan de Zumárraga and the Inquisition, and John Schwaller's studies of the clergy. It is driven principally by archival evidence and a desire to understand the man (Moya de Contreras) and the time (Mexico's Church as it emerged in its more formalized period in the broader context of the Council of Trent and Spanish imperial projects).

This second edition reflects two important qualities of the original work: (1) its commitment to provide a broad understanding of religious politics, and (2) its firm commitment to deep and perspicacious archival research. …

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