The Use of Mayan Scripture in the Americas’ First Christian Theology

In: Numen
Garry SparksGeorge Mason University, Department of Religious Studies, 4400 University Drive, 3F1, USA

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This study examines the work of the Dominican Friar Domingo de Vico, specifically his theology of or for the “Indians,” the Theologia Indorum, written originally in K’iche’ Maya in 1553–1554. While scholarship in recent decades has focused on the first post-contact writings by autochthonous Americans, particularly the Popol Wuj, or Mayan “Council Book,” and the early impact of Hispano-Catholicism, little attention has been paid to the influence of indigenous religion on colonial Christianity. Therefore, this study critically examines the first use of Mayan myths in Christian literature for a more nuanced understanding of the mutual dynamics between missionaries and the missionized as well as the distinctions between missionary translation strategies in the early formative decades of first contact.

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