Biography of a Mexican crucifix : lived religion and local by Jennifer Scheper Hughes

By Jennifer Scheper Hughes

In 1543, in a small village in Mexico, a gaggle of missionary friars acquired from a mysterious Indian messenger an strange carved snapshot of Christ crucified. The friars declared it the main poignantly attractive depiction of Christ's ache they'd ever obvious. referred to as the Cristo Aparecido (the "Christ Appeared"), it speedy turned the most celebrated spiritual pictures in colonial Mexico. at the present time, the Cristo Aparecido is without doubt one of the oldest New global crucifixes and is the cherished shopper saint of the Indians of Totolapan.

In Biography of a Mexican Crucifix, Jennifer Scheper Hughes strains renowned devotion to the Cristo Aparecido over 5 centuries of Mexican historical past. each one bankruptcy investigates a unmarried incident within the stumble upon among believers and the picture. via those old vignettes, Hughes explores and reinterprets the conquest of and venture to the Indians; the beginning of an indigenous, syncretic Christianity; the violent techniques of independence and nationalization; and the utopian imaginative and prescient of liberation theology. Hughes reads all of those throughout the renowned devotion to a crucifix that over the centuries turns into a key protagonist in shaping neighborhood heritage and social identification. This publication should be welcomed by way of students and scholars of faith, Latin American historical past, anthropology, and theology.

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Additional info for Biography of a Mexican crucifix : lived religion and local faith from the conquest to the present

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Today the theme of beauty often emerges more strongly in devotions than the theme of suffering, and affection for the Cristo is a more prevalent emotion then pity. Mexican cristos, in general, have often proven surprisingly resistant to an association with suffering both historically and in the present. The theme of indigenous suffering is, in fact, one of the persistent undercurrents in the biography of the Cristo, but this is not because the Indians, generally speaking, have seen Christ’s affliction as somehow analogous to their own.

Mexico’s independence from Spain in 1821, for example, seems to have had very little discernable, immediate impact on popular devotion to the Cristo, or on the fate of the image itself. Similarly, the Mexican revolution does not loom large in the history of the Cristo. Further, the approach to history I employ here leads me to place some historical periods and processes into comparative focus, so that the reader may note resonances in the impact of the “spiritual conquest” of the sixteenth century, the eighteenth-century Bourbon reforms, the anti-clericalism and churchstate conflicts of the nineteenth century, and even the modernizing impulse of liberation theology in the latter twentieth century.

By this time, the Franciscans and Dominicans were already well established in the colonial center, and the Crown worried that there was not room for the Augustinians in the city. It was almost a decade after their arrival before the Augustinians received approval to establish a convento of their own in Mexico City. 7 In their first decades in the New World, the Augustinians were also less admired than their Franciscan and Dominican counterparts. A letter dating from this period is a case in point: “As you are already aware, the order of San Agustín is not as esteemed (temida) as those of St.

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