The Americas' First Theologies: Early Sources of Post-Contact Indigenous Religion

The Americas' First Theologies: Early Sources of Post-Contact Indigenous Religion


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The Theologia Indorum by Dominican friar Domingo de Vico was the first Christian theology written in the Americas. Made available in English translation for the first time, Americas' First Theologies presents a selection of exemplary sections from the Theologia Indorum that illustrate Friar Vico's doctrine of god, cosmogony, moral anthropology, understanding of natural law and biblical history, and constructive engagement with pre-Hispanic Maya religion. Rather than merely condemn the Maya religion, Vico appropriated local terms and images from Maya mythology and rituals that he thought could convey Christianity. His attempt at translating, if not reconfiguring, Christianity for a Maya readership required his mastery of not only numerous Mayan languages but also the highly poetic ceremonial rhetoric of many indigenous Mesoamerican peoples.

This book also includes translations of two other pastoral texts (parts of a songbook and a catechism) and eight early documents by K'iche' and Kaqchikel Maya authors who engaged the Theologia Indorum. These texts, written in Highland Mayan languages both by fellow Dominicans and by Highland Maya elites demonstrate the wider influence of Vico's ethnographic approach shared by a particular school of Dominicans. Altogether, The Americas' First Theologies provides a rich documentary case example of the translation, reception, and reaction to Christian thought in the indigenous Americas

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780190678302
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publication date: 08/01/2017
Series: AAR Religion in Translation Series
Pages: 344
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

Garry Sparks is Assistant Professor of Religion Studies at George Mason University. He focuses on anthropological (socio-cultural and linguistic) and ethnohistorical understandings of theological production in the Americas, particularly among indigenous peoples. His areas include histories of Christian thought, theories of religion and culture, Native American religions, and religion in Latin America. He specifically attends to the periods of first contact between Iberian mendicant missionaries and indigenous Mesoamericans as well as current religious movements like liberation theologies, "Indian" theology (teología india), Latin American Protestantisms, and the revitalization of indigenous traditionalism (such as Maya Spirituality or kojb'al).

Table of Contents

Forward by Robert M. Carmack

Chapter One: Domingo de Vico's "Theology 'for' or 'of' the Indians"
Vico's Theologia Indorum (1553 and 1554)

Chapter Two: Other Dominican Lessons in Highland Mayan Languages - Spoken and Sung
Coplas of Friar Luis de Cáncer, O.P.
Doctrina christiana en lengua quiché by Friar Damián Delgado, O.P.

Chapter Three: Highland Maya Theological Production
Popol Wuj (ca.1554-ca.1558), folio 1 recto
Title of Totonicapán (ca.1554), folios 1-7
Xpantzay Cartulary I (ca.1552)
Title of the Tamub' I (1580)
Title of Santa Clara La Laguna (1583)
Title of the Tamub' III (1592)
Title of the Ilokab' (ca.1592)
Xpantzay Cartulary VI (ca.1658)

Another Colophon

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