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The Order of Days: The Maya World and the Truth About 2012
     

The Order of Days: The Maya World and the Truth About 2012

by David Stuart
 

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The world's foremost expert on Maya culture looks at 2012 hysteria and explains the truth about what the Maya meant and what we want to believe.

Apocalypse 2012: An Investigation into Civilizations End. The World Cataclysm in 2012. 2012: The return of Quetzalcoatl. According to many of these alarmingly titled books, the ancient Maya not only

Overview

The world's foremost expert on Maya culture looks at 2012 hysteria and explains the truth about what the Maya meant and what we want to believe.

Apocalypse 2012: An Investigation into Civilizations End. The World Cataclysm in 2012. 2012: The return of Quetzalcoatl. According to many of these alarmingly titled books, the ancient Maya not only had a keen insight into the mystical workings of our planet and the cosmos, but they were also able to predict that the world will end in the year 2012.

David Stuart, the foremost scholar of the Maya and recipient of numerous awards for his work, takes a hard look at the frenzy over 2012 and offers a fascination (and accurate) trip through Mayan culture and belief. Stuart shows how the idea that the "end of the Mayan calendar," which supposedly heralds the end of our own existence, says far more about our culture than about the ancient Maya. The Order of Days explores how the real intellectual achievement of ancient Maya timekeeping and worldview is far more impressive and remarkable than any of the popular, and often outrageous, claims about this advanced civilization.

As someone who has studied the Maya for nearly all of his life and who specializes in reading their ancient texts, Stuart sees the 2012 hubbub as the most recent in a long chain of related ideas about Mesoamericans, the Maya in particular, that depicts them as somehow oddball, not "of this world," or as having some strong mystical link to other realms.

Because the year 2012 has no prominent role in anything the ancient Maya ever actually wrote, Stuart takes a wider look at the Maya concepts of time and their underlying philosophy as we can best understand them. The ancient Maya, Stuart contends, were worthy of study and admiration not because they were strange but because they were altogether human, and they developed a compelling vision of time unlike any other civilization before or since.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“More than a rebuttal of the apocalypse-pushers, The Order of Days is a broader (and more interesting) consideration of the role that time played in Maya culture…. An authoritative study of an fascinating and timely topic. And not to worry if your reading takes you beyond next Dec. 21.”  -The Wall Street Journal
Kirkus Reviews

Highly concentrated amalgamation of doomsday-theory debunking and Mayan ethos.

A leading Mayanist scholar and Mesoamerican art professor (Univ. of Texas), Stuart began appreciating Maya culture at an early age during trips to jungle ruins with his parents, lifelong experts. Staunchly dedicated, the author has collected field research and documented the evolution of native kingdoms predating the Mesoamerican civilization—present-day southern Mexico and northern Central America—and the classic eras that established it, along with deciphering much of the coded Maya hieroglyphic script. He expounds on this research in dense, informative chapters about how the Maya society developed into a deeply mystical, animistic collective, invoking their notions of timekeeping and day-naming, cosmology and science. Also relevant to the author's research was how their 260-day calendar was intricately designed and calculated and what the Maya people considered cosmic "deep time." Stuart adroitly dispels common misconceptions that put the Mayan culture in an "exotic", "alien" light to outsiders, which, to him, constitutes a "major cultural misunderstanding." Though he appreciates the enthusiasm of the "guru" mentality, the author openly dismisses the recent ominous hype cultivated by New Age writers like John Major Jenkins and others who've analyzed the Maya calendar and its perceived dire consequences for the world at large. This is "complete nonsense," the author writes, and he goes on to dispense a vast and illuminating chronicle of the Maya people and their fascinating cultural significance. While much of Stuart's scholarly interpretation borders on textbook analysis, even he confesses that a healthy amount of his personalized conjecture might be viewed as "half-baked" at its early developmental stage. The author deeply examines the core beliefs and the intricate written languages of the Maya civilization and seeks to convey a better understanding of not only its culture and history, but how it correlates to the overblown media buzz about the Earth's hypothesized demise in 2012.

Chockablock with facts, graphs and illustrations—supreme fodder for specialists but somewhat impenetrable for the casual reader.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780385527262
Publisher:
Crown Publishing Group
Publication date:
05/17/2011
Pages:
368
Product dimensions:
6.40(w) x 9.40(h) x 1.40(d)

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher
“More than a rebuttal of the apocalypse-pushers, The Order of Days is a broader (and more interesting) consideration of the role that time played in Maya culture…. An authoritative study of an fascinating and timely topic. And not to worry if your reading takes you beyond next Dec. 21.”  -The Wall Street Journal

Meet the Author

David Stuart is a Mayanist scholar and professor of Mesoamerican art and writing at the University of Texas at Austin. He began deciphering Mayan hieroglyphs at the age of eight, under the tutelage of Linda Schele. He has made major contributions in the field of epigraphy, particularly related to the decipherment of the Mayan script used by the pre-Columbian Mayan civilization of Mesoamerica.

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