Thèse : Books and codices : transculturation, language dissemination and education in the works of friar Pedro de Gante


  • Yunes Vincke, E.


The present study analyses the work of Flemish Franciscan missionary fray Pedro de Gante (1480-1572) against the background of the early stages of the evangelization in New Spain, modern-day Mexico. By means of his works the Catecismo en Pictogramas [ca.1527], the Doctrina Christiana en Lengua Mexicana [1547] and the Cartilla para enseñar a leer [1569] Gante played a fundamental role in the processes of transculturation playing out between European missionaries and the Nahua populations of the Valley of Mexico. The role of Gante as a transcendental figure of cultural contact has been often neglected; previous studies on the subject have only focused on general aspects of Gante’s biography. A thorough, comparative study of Gante’s works that ingrains them in the wider context of the early years of the evangelization (1524-1572) has never been done before. The present work aims to fill this void. The important role Gante and his works played in the process of transculturation is demonstrated through an interdisciplinary contextual framework that employs agency theory, New Philology, Colonial semiosis and annales theory. This study shows that Gante’s works represent the initial stages of a translation process in which Christian doctrine was converted into Nahuatl. This process was by no means straightforward and involved the translation of an entire set of cultural and cosmological referents from one system of beliefs to another. Gante’s works are at the forefront of this development and this research demonstrates clearly how Gante developed, drawing on his unique cultural and social background, novel evangelical strategies which involved the active participation of both missionaries and the Nahuas themselves. The significance of this, cannot be overlooked, with the translation Gante started an open-dialogue with the Nahuas. Showing that the evangelization of Mexico was not a simple process of imposition, but a complex process in which the different elements of society had a voice and accommodated and negated the influence of the other while constructing new cultural categories.

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Olivier Jacquot (2021, 10 juin). Thèse : Books and codices : transculturation, language dissemination and education in the works of friar Pedro de Gante. Amoxcalli. Consulté le 23 avril 2024, à l’adresse

Olivier Jacquot

Chargé de collections : manuscrits des fonds américains, Service des manuscrits ORientaux (SOR), département des Manuscrits (MSS), Bibliothèque nationale de France (BnF)

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