Maya Cosmos

Maya Cosmos

5.0 1
by David Freidel, Linda Schele, Joy Parker

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
In this highly original and politically provocative synthesis, archaeologist Freidel and epigrapher Linda Schele team up with Joy Parker, a popular writer, in an attempt to bridge history and prehistory in the Yucatan peninsula of Guatemala and Mexico. Their device is to apply shamanistic belief and practice among modern Maya to interpretations of hieroglyphics and other archaeological remains. In this captivating thesis, foreshadowed in Dennis Tedlock's Popol Vuh ( LJ 1/85) and their own A Forest of Kings (Morrow, 1990), they argue that the world view of the prehistoric Maya lives on in the language and beliefs of the survivors of the Spanish conquest. While at once compelling and controversial, this book will appeal to everyone interested in the Maya and non-Western religion.-- William S. Dancey, Ohio State Univ., Columbus
Pat Monaghan
This is pure pleasure to read--an extraordinary contribution to academic knowledge written like a well-paced novel. Linda Schele, whose "Blood of Kings" (1986) and earlier collaboration with Freidel, "A Forest of Kings" (1990), are both well-regarded books on the Maya, goes deeper into the Mayan gestalt in this second collaboration with him and first with new partner Joy Parker. The subject is Mayan cosmology, and interweaving archaeology and anthropology with personal experience, the three authors examine the major religious concepts of the Maya and how those concepts found expression in religious architecture and myth. The Maya, they reveal, were not destroyed by the Spanish invaders. Their religion continues, sometimes under the guise of Christianity, sometimes in folk custom, sometimes in ancient rituals still practiced among the descendants of one of America's premier civilizations--rites informed by the concepts the authors present. The creation myth, the ritual ball games, the pyramidal world-tree--these are examined and fleshed out so substantively that the reader feels truly immersed in Mayan reality.
Draws upon translations of sacred texts and histories to examine Maya mythology and religion and unravel the question of how they have managed to preserve their sacred beliefs into modern times. The creation myth is explored as the basis for government, the symbolism of political power, a description of the daily lives of the common people, instruction for the afterlife, and as the lesson at the heart of the famous Maya ballgame. Includes 16 pages of color photos, and many black and white illustrations. Freidel is an anthropologist who has collaborated for this book with art professor Linda Schele and writer Joy Parker. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (

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HarperCollins Publishers
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1st ed

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