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

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By Jennifer Scheper Hughes

In 1543, in a small village in Mexico, a bunch of missionary friars bought from a mysterious Indian messenger an strange carved photograph of Christ crucified. The friars declared it the main poignantly attractive depiction of Christ's agony they'd ever visible. referred to as the Cristo Aparecido (the "Christ Appeared"), it speedy turned essentially the most celebrated spiritual pictures in colonial Mexico. at the present time, the Cristo Aparecido is likely one of the oldest New global crucifixes and is the loved buyer 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 heritage. every one bankruptcy investigates a unmarried incident within the stumble upon among believers and the picture. via those ancient 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 during the renowned devotion to a crucifix that over the centuries turns into a key protagonist in shaping neighborhood heritage and social identification. This booklet should be welcomed through students and scholars of faith, Latin American background, anthropology, and theology.

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

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When Roa roused from his reverie and descended from his cell, the mysterious Indian was nowhere to be found. Don Francisco, along with the doorman and several teachers from the school, searched the entire village and surrounding countryside. They spent all of that day and the next looking without avail. 1. Antonio Roa receives the Cristo. Nuestro Señor Aparecido. Francisco Antonio Vallejo. Oil on Canvas, Mexico, circa 1760. By permission of the Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia on behalf of the people of Mexico.

He did not arrive in Totolpan triumphantly or full of evangelical zeal and fervor, but rather plauged by doubt and in a spirit of defeat. Probably he was not only questioning his vocation as a missionary but also struggling 28 BIOGRAPHY OF A MEXICAN CRUCIFIX with the meaning and implications of his own Christian faith. 14 The meaningful hours he spent discussing the nuances of Christian moral doctrine with the Indian neophyte Christians there was the stimulus by which Roa underwent a profound experience of reconversion.

Thus I employ the methods of archival research, oral history, and ethnographic study to interpret the local significance of popular practices in order, ultimately, to explain the crucified Christ’s enduring vitality for the faith of the Mexican people. A large part of this project involved many hours in libraries and archives, where I consulted and studied the colonial sources that allowed me to uncover the Cristo’s origins and his history in the first four hundred years. My family and I also spent six months, in 2003–2004, engaged in field research in the pueblo of Totolapan.

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