Fortress Press

From Patmos to the Barrio: Subverting Imperial Myths

From Patmos to the Barrio

Subverting Imperial Myths

David A. Sánchez (Author)


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Sánchez's subject is the power of imperial myths — and the subversive power unleashed when resistance movements take over those myths for their own purposes. Moving from John of Patmos's inversion of Roman imperial mythology in Revelation 12 to the indigenous appropriation of Spanish symbolism and mythology, in seventeenth-century Mexico, Sánchez then explores the continuing power of the Virgin of Guadalupe (La Guadalupana) to inspire movements for a better society in our own day.

From Patmos to the Barrio reveals new insights into the biblical Apocalypse of John, and the enduring power of its legacy down to the present day, and includes contemporary translations of two important 17th century documents concerning La Guadalupana: Luis Laso de la Vega's Huei tlamahuiçoltica and Miguel Sánchez's Imagen de la Virgen Maria. Also included are images of La Guadalupana in the murals of East Los Angeles.

  • Publisher Fortress Press
  • Format Paperback
  • ISBN 9780800662592
  • Dimensions 6 x 9
  • Pages 222
  • Publication Date July 11, 2008


"From Patmos to the Barrio demonstrates what it means to read the Bible from the Hispanic margins. With his Bible open to Revelation 12, Sanchez draws from the rich history of the Virgin of Guadalupe as well as how his contemporary compatriots in the barrio of East LA understand her. By contextualizing the text to the Latina/o margins, Sanchez brings the ancient scriptural text in conversation with the modern so as to lift up specific motifs of resistance. A must read for those interested in what the Scriptures have to say about disenfranchised spaces."
— Miguel A. De La Torre, Associate-Professor of Social Ethics, Director of the Justice and Peace Institute, Iliff School of Theology

"Sanchez has made a valuable contribution to our understanding of the book of Revelation in the context of Roman imperial mythology, and to the book's legacy of inspiring the subversion of imperial myths down to our own day. Biblical scholars, scholars of the Guadalupe tradition, and anyone interested in the ongoing struggles of peoples for their self-determination will find this an important book."
— Justo L. Gonzalez, Director of the Fund for Theological Education

"The Virgin of Guadalupe, a figure revered in Mexican and Latina culture, has explicit roots in the woman of Revelation 12. But Sanchez's brilliant account goes further, to show how Spanish imagery of the Virgin was subversively transformed into a powerful symbol of indigenous resistance — and to shed light in turn on how ancient subject people as well transformed imperial myth into counter-imperial symbol. This beautifully illustrated book is an important contribution to current postcolonial interpretation and to the struggles of marginalized peoples against their continuing colonization by the ongoing pursuit of American 'Manifest Destiny.'"
— Richard A. Horsley, Distinguished Professor of Classics and Religion, University of Massachusetts, Boston