Parution : Rewriting Maya Religion: Domingo de Vico, K’iche’ Maya Intellectuals, and the Theologia Indorum

Rewriting Maya Religion
Rewriting Maya Religion


  • Sparks, Garry G.

Garry G. Sparks is associate professor of religious studies at George Mason University. He is the principal author of The Americas’ First Theologies and serves on the editorial board of the International Journal of Latin American Religions.

Résumé de l’éditeur

In Rewriting Maya Religion Garry Sparks examines the earliest religious documents composed by missionaries and native authors in the Americas, including a reconstruction of the first original, explicit Christian theology written in the Americas—the nearly 900-page Theologia Indorum (Theology for [or ofthe Indians), initially written in Mayan languages by Friar Domingo de Vico by 1554. Sparks traces how the first Dominican missionaries to the Maya repurposed native religious ideas, myths, and rhetoric in their efforts to translate a Christianity and how, in this wake, K’iche’ Maya elites began to write their own religious texts, like the Popol Vuh. This ethnohistory of religion critically reexamines the role and value of indigenous authority during the early decades of first contact between a Native American people and Christian missionaries.

Centered on the specific work of Dominicans among the Highland Maya of Guatemala in the decades prior to the arrival of the Catholic Reformation in the late sixteenth century, the book focuses on the various understandings of religious analyses—Hispano-Catholic and Maya—and their strategic exchanges, reconfigurations, and resistance through competing efforts of religious translation. Sparks historically contextualizes Vico’s theological treatise within both the wider set of early literature in K’iche’an languages and the intellectual shifts between late medieval thought and early modernity, especially the competing theories of language, ethnography, and semiotics in the humanism of Spain and Mesoamerica at the time.

Thorough and original, Rewriting Maya Religion serves as an ethnohistorical frame for continued studies on Highland Maya religious symbols, discourse, practices, and logic dating back to the earliest documented evidence. It will be of great significance to scholars of religion, ethnohistory, linguistics, anthropology, and Latin American history.


  • Note on Orthography and Pronunciation ix
  • Introduction: (Re)Reading a First Coauthored Paper Trail 3
  • Part 1. Historical Contexts of the Old Worlds
    • 1 Mesoamericans Shape a New World: K’iche’ Maya 101 29
    • 2 Mendicants Shape a New World: Transatlantic Catholicisms 52
  • Part 2. Recovering Vico’s K’iche’an Theology
    • 3 Nima Ajtij Father Friar Domingo de Vico, O.P.: An Ethnobiography 91
    • 4 Vico’s Theology for and of the “Indians”: Summary of a Summa Americana 134
    • 5 Use of Maya “Scripture”: Vico’s Theological Method and Doctrine of Ajaw 167
  • Part 3. Tracing Vico in K’iche’ Religious Texts
    • 6 Use of the Theologia Indorum in the Popol Wuj: A Maya Response 197
    • 7 Maya Notarial Genres as Hyperlocal Theology: The Title of Totonicapán 232
    • 8 A Reception Ethnohistory of a Christianity: Other Early Maya Hyperlocal Theologies 271
    • 9 Intertextuality, Hyperlocalism, and the Continued Dialogic Emergence of Theologies 299
  • Appendix A: Comparison of the Structures between Aquinas’s Summa theologiae, Late Medieval Liturgical Year Readings, and Vico’s Theologia Indorum 309
  • Appendix B: Comparison between the Content and Themes found in the Coplas in Q’eqchi’ (Ayer Ms 1536) and in K’iche’ (Kislak Ms 1015) and the Theologia Indorum 313
  • Notes 319
  • References 379
  • Index 419

Informations pratiques

  • Éditeur : Boulder : University Press of Colorado
  • Date de parution : 2019
  • Description matérielle : 1 vol. (384 p.) : ill., couv. ill. en coul. ;
  • ISBN 978-1-60732-969-5 (rel.) : 99 $. – ISBN 978-1-60732-970-1 (élec.) : 79 $


Citer ce billet
Olivier Jacquot (2020, 21 mars). Parution : Rewriting Maya Religion: Domingo de Vico, K’iche’ Maya Intellectuals, and the Theologia Indorum. Amoxcalli. Consulté le 13 avril 2024, à l’adresse

  1. Gratuit dans le cadre de la pandémie de COVID-19. []

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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