Biography of a Mexican Crucifix: Lived Religion and Local Faith from the Conquest to the Present

Paperback (Print)
Buy Used
Buy Used from
(Save 36%)
Item is in good condition but packaging may have signs of shelf wear/aging or torn packaging.
Condition: Used – Good details
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $9.61
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 69%)
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (13) from $9.61   
  • New (7) from $19.47   
  • Used (6) from $9.61   


In 1543, in a small village in Mexico, a group of missionary friars received from a mysterious Indian messenger an unusual carved image of Christ crucified. The friars declared it the most poignantly beautiful depiction of Christ's suffering they had ever seen. Known as the Cristo Aparecido (the "Christ Appeared"), it quickly became one of the most celebrated religious images in colonial Mexico. Today, the Cristo Aparecido is among the oldest New World crucifixes and is the beloved patron saint of the Indians of Totolapan.

In Biography of a Mexican Crucifix, Jennifer Scheper Hughes traces popular devotion to the Cristo Aparecido over five centuries of Mexican history. Each chapter investigates a single incident in the encounter between believers and the image. Through these historical vignettes, Hughes explores and reinterprets the conquest of and mission to the Indians; the birth of an indigenous, syncretic Christianity; the violent processes of independence and nationalization; and the utopian vision of liberation theology. Hughes reads all of these through the popular devotion to a crucifix that over the centuries becomes a key protagonist in shaping local history and social identity. This book will be welcomed by scholars and students of religion, Latin American history, anthropology, and theology.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This history of the five-hundred-year odyssey of a Mexican crucifix and its devotees is both scholarly and deeply respectful of local belief. Overcoming the apparent dichotomy between indigenous and Christian practices, Hughes's work shows how this and other Mexican crucifixes are profoundly part of both at the same time. This is an engaged study that allows us analytical distance and yet draws us in to grapple with the meaning it holds for religious life."

— Rosemary Radford Ruether, Professor of Theology, Claremont Graduate University

"Jennifer Scheper Hughes shows extraordinary interpretive skill in turning this 'biography of an object,' the Cristo Aparecido of Totolapan, into a scholarly revelation of complex religious devotion in Mexico. Combining the sharpness of a detective story with a new kind of historical writing, humanity and agency are given to all the participants - Spanish priests, indigenous parishioners and historians too! Readers are led to 'draw nearer' to a richer and deeper understanding of how the 'Christ Appeared' stays alive over centuries, through rivalry and violence, tenderness and affection, in the souls of indigenous Mexico. This book is first rate and compelling, humane and scholarly, respectful and insistent, innovative and grounded in the best historical writing of the last decades."

— Davíd Carrasco, Neil L. Rudenstine Professor of the Study of Latin America, Harvard University

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195367072
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 1/27/2010
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 328
  • Sales rank: 1,216,822
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Jennifer Scheper Hughes is Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at University of California, Riverside.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Chapter One: Introduction: The Iconography of Suffering
Chapter Two: "Christ Appeared": Material Religion and the Conquest of Mexico
Chapter Three: Performance and Penance: The Cristo and Christian Evangelization
Chapter Four: The Cristo Comes to Life: Lived Religion in Colonial Mexico City
Chapter Five: Repatriation: Christ Comes Again to Totolapan
Chapter Six: The Red Bishop, the Cristo, and the Aesthetics of Liberation
Chapter Seven: The Gentle Devotions of a Rebellious People: The Phenomenology of a Santo
Chapter Eight: Beauty and Devotion: Fiesta at the Dawn of a New Millennium
Chapter Nine: Conclusions: The Two Souls of Christ Notes

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)