Translated Christianities: Nahuatl and Maya Religious Texts - Latin American Originals 8 (Paperback)Mark Z. Christensen (author)
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Publisher: Pennsylvania State University Press
Number of pages: 152
Weight: 204 g
Dimensions: 216 x 140 x 64 mm
"After the establishment of colonial rule, Mesoamerican peoples were forced to come to terms with Christianity: to accept, reinterpret, or deliberately ignore Christian teachings, or, at the very least, to show up at mandatory catechism classes. Mark Christensen expertly guides the reader through a rich selection of little-known religious writings in native languages, unfolding multiple dimensions of this intercultural confrontation. Ecclesiastics pursued various strategies to persuade, cajole, or frighten indigenous people into compliance, sometimes dressing Christian doctrine in fancy rhetorical clothing and sometimes dumbing it down for audiences they perceived as childlike or crude. Their messages often escaped their control, being reworked in unorthodox ways by indigenous Christians. Concise, yet ranging broadly in time and space, this book shows that, indeed, the processes of translation and adaptation yielded not one but many 'Christianities.'"
--Louise M. Burkhart, University at Albany, SUNY
"How to know the success of the evangelization of Mesoamerican peoples during the colonial era? Mark Christensen's Translated Christianities goes a long way toward answering that question by means of a masterful translation and analysis of selected Nahuatl- and Maya-language ecclesiastical texts by indigenous authors and some clergy, both of whom fashioned local catechisms, confessionals, baptismal treatises, and Christian stories for the edification of their congregations. Thus, ku and altepetl and balche and nixtamal, among many other native concepts in these writings, served to keep the natives' world real as they contemplated the mysteries of the faith. This work is an important contribution to our field."
--Susan Schroeder, Tulane University
"This is a major contribution to the history of the missionary enterprise in Mexico in both the colonial and independence periods. Mark Christensen clearly explains the challenge faced by missionaries, both Catholic and Protestant, in attempting to translate European Christian concepts into native languages and cultures that had no equivalents. He shows their inventiveness and the misunderstandings that inevitably resulted. He does this by translating original documents in Nahuatl and Maya and giving the background and analysis of each one. The result is an illuminating and brilliant piece of historical detective work. This work will prove invaluable to professional historians and graduate students alike."
--Stafford Poole, C.M.
"Christensen's brief and gracious introductions to a variety of examples from the Nahua and Maya catechistic corpus provide a compelling point of entry for the study of what is revealed, upon close inspection, to be a diverse and challenging corpus that defies easy generalizations. This work should instruct and engage both undergraduate and specialist audiences."
--David Tav rez, Hispanic American Historical Review
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