Parution : Aztec religion and art of writing : investigating embodied meaning, indigenous semiotics, and the Nahua sense of reality

Aztec religion and art of writing
Aztec religion and art of writing


Dr. Isabel Laack, Privatdozentin at the Institute for the Study of Religion, Heidelberg University, Germany, is the author of Religion und Musik in Glastonbury (Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2011) as well as numerous articles in the field of the aesthetics of religion.

Résumé de l’éditeur

In her groundbreaking investigation from the perspective of the aesthetics of religion, Isabel Laack explores the religion and art of writing of the pre-Hispanic Aztecs of Mexico. Inspired by postcolonial approaches, she reveals Eurocentric biases in academic representations of Aztec cosmovision, ontology, epistemology, ritual, aesthetics, and the writing system to provide a powerful interpretation of the Nahua sense of reality. Laack transcends the concept of “sacred scripture” traditionally employed in religions studies in order to reconstruct the Indigenous semiotic theory and to reveal how Aztec pictography can express complex aspects of embodied meaning. Her study offers an innovative approach to nonphonographic semiotic systems, as created in many world cultures, and expands our understanding of human recorded visual communication. This book will be essential reading for scholars and readers interested in the history of religions, Mesoamerican studies, and the ancient civilizations of the Americas.


  • Foreword
  • Acknowledgments
  • List of Illustrations
  • Introduction
  •  1 Introducing the Subject
  •  2 Indicating Sociopolitical Relevance
  •  3 Realizing the Aesthetics of Religion
  •  4 Outlining the Chapters
  • 1 Methodology
  •  1 Doing Research in a Postcolonial World
  •  2 Writing History
  •  3 Clarifying Perspectives and Objectives
  •  4 Summary
  • 2 Living in Cultural Diversity
  •  1 Drawing on History
  •  2 Living in the Central Highlands
  •  3 Living in Religious Diversity
  •  4 Conclusion: Diversity within the Nahua Tradition
  • 3 Living in Relation: Being Human in Tenochtitlan
  •  1 How the World Came to Be
  •  2 How the Human World Came to Be
  •  3 How the Cosmic Dynamics Unfold
  •  4 Living in Cosmic Relations
  •  5 Living in Social Relations
  •  6 Living Properly—Living in Balance
  • 4 A World in Motion: Nahua Ontology
  •  1 Aztec Notions of “Divinity”
  •  2 The Nature of Teotl
  •  3 Teotl’s Realization: Nahualli and the Layers of Reality
  •  4 A World in Motion: The Fifth Era
  •  5 The Problem of Ephemerality: What Is Really Real?
  • 5 Understanding a World in Motion: Nahua Epistemology
  •  1 Epistemology
  •  2 Knowledge Experts: Wise (Wo)Men and Scribes
  •  2 People with Special Insights
  •  3 The Inspiration of Knowledge and Its Expression
  • 6 Interacting with a World in Motion: Nahua Pragmatism and Aesthetics
  •  1 Human Agency: Seeking Balance
  •  2 Human Duties
  •  3 Interacting with Rituals
  •  4 Involving the Senses and Aesthetic Media
  •  5 The Concept of the Teixiptla
  • 7 Expressing Reality in Language: Nahua Linguistic Theory
  •  1 Nahua Oral Tradition
  •  2 Reconstructing Nahua Songs
  •  3 Thinking in Nahuatl
  •  4 Nahua Imagery
  •  5 The Relationship between the Spoken Sign and Reality in Nahuatl
  •  6 Nahua Imagery and the Problem of Rationality
  • 8 Materializing Reality in Writing: Nahua Pictography
  •  1 The History of Writing Systems in Mesoamerica
  •  2 The Writing System of the Nahuas
  •  3 Social Text Practice
  •  4 Books and Authors
  •  5 Nahua Culture between Orality and Literacy
  • 9 Understanding Pictography: Interpreting Nahua Semiotics
  •  1 The History of Evaluating Aztec Writing
  •  2 Different Kinds of Meaning and Knowledge
  •  3 Seeing Reality: Nahua Semiotic Theory
  •  4 Interpreting Nahua Pictography
  • 10 Interpretative Results: Nahua Religion, Scripture, and Sense of Reality
  •  1 From Religion to Being-in-the-World
  •  2 From Scripture to Semiotics
  •  3 Interrelationships: Semiotic Theory and Embodied Meaning
  • Conclusion
  • References
  • Index
  • Plates

Informations pratiques

  • Editeur : Leiden ; Boston (Mass.) : Brill
  • Date de parution ; cop. 2019
  • Description matérielle : 1 vol. (XVIII-435 p.) : ill. ; 25 cm
  • Collection : (Numen book series. Studies in the history of religions, ISSN 0169-8834 ; volume 161)
  • Bibliogr. p. [382]-426. Index
  • Texte remanié de : Habilitation à diriger des recherches : Sciences religieuses : Université de Heidelberg : 2018
  • ISBN 978-90-04-39145-1 (rel.)


Citer ce billet
Olivier Jacquot (2020, 9 juin). Parution : Aztec religion and art of writing : investigating embodied meaning, indigenous semiotics, and the Nahua sense of reality. Amoxcalli. Consulté le 19 juin 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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