Lafaye's Summary: The Syncretic History Of New Spain

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Jacques Lafaye, a French historian, published a study pertaining to the intellectual history of New Spain and its development of a national consciousness that would facilitate a move towards independence. Lafaye takes a unique approach of examining the formation of Mexico’s national conciseness by pointing to the importance of religious thought in that process. In this ethnohistorical study the author pays special attention to the interaction of Iberian Christianity and Aztec belief system in New Spain. Through careful analysis the author confronts the merging of these two faiths and their role in the transition from the Aztec world to independent Mexico. Lafaye specifically alludes to the syncretic nature of St.Thomas-Quetzalcoatl and Guadalupe-Tonantzin…show more content…
Lafaye sets the stage of his story by putting New Spain into context Lafaye emphasizes the peculiar nature of New Spain and its intricacies with in that society. Lafaye presents New Spain not as an intermediate between Indian Mexico and modern Mexico, but rather as transitional period that changed the composition of that society. The author cites the myths of Quetzalcoatl and Guadalupe as one of the most complex and original creations to come out of that period. The development of syncretic myth making according Lafaye to offered an answer to the question of the origins of an orphaned people. These new myths also are telling of a search for legitimacy in Mexican…show more content…
Tonantzin being the mother goddess of the Aztecs was blended with the Virgin Mary. Her indigenous likeness united the creole, Indian and mestizo who would later use her as a banner of insurgency against Spanish domination. Jacques Lafaye comes off the strongest when he explains the orgins of the Virgin of Guadalupe. Lafayes thesis is more solidified with the telling of Tonantzin-Guadalupe’s history because the iconography of this syncretic manifestation of New Spain is still seen today and is still very much a part of the collective psyche of Mexico’s national formation. Lafaye does an excellent job of explain the universality of this myth in all the sectors of colonial society. The author eloquently explained that for the Indians the virgin was their mother goddess, for the creoles the virgin gave them theological roots in the Americas in conjunction with their Spain roots and to the mestizos it was their origins story of a violated mother of

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