Biography of a Mexican Crucifix Lived Religion and Local Faith from the Conquest to the Present, by Scheper Hughes, Jennifer
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- ISBN: 9780195367065 | 0195367065
- Cover: Hardcover
- Copyright: 1/27/2010
In the mid-16th century, a group of Spanish missionary friars in Mexico discovered a carved image of Christ crucified and declared it the most poignantly beautiful depiction of Christ's suffering that they had ever seen. Known as the Cristo Aparecido (the Christ Appeared) it quickly became one of the most celebrated religious images in New Spain, widely revered for its miraculous healings. Today, the Cristo Aparecido is the beloved patron saint of the people of Totolapan, a small, rural community of Mestizo peasants in the northern part of the Mexican state of Morelos. In this innovative study, Jennifer Hughes traces popular devotion to the Cristo Aparecido over five centuries of Mexican history. Each chapter looks at a single incident in the encounter between believers and the image. Through these historical snapshots Hughes introduces and explores the most salient religious issues in Mexican history: conquest and mission to the Indians; the birth of an indigenous, syncretic Christianity; the rise of a baroque spirituality and aesthetic; the declining influence of the Catholic religious orders; the sometimes violent processes of independence, nationalization, and secularization; the utopian vision and practice of liberation theology and its institutional dismantling; and finally, the rise of charismatic Catholicism. Hughes reads all of these through the popular devotion to a crucifix that over the centuries becomes an animate participant and protagonist in shaping local and regional history and social identity.