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“In this excellent book, Viviana Diaz Balsera . . . [reveals] new insights into the friars’ interactions with native Nahua cultures.”—International Bulletin of Missionary Research
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The Pyramid under the Cross looks at the epic project of Christianization as well as the limits of the Spanish spiritual colonizers' power to accomplish it. The book focuses on activities of Franciscan missionaries who, as the first religious order to arrive, occupied the most important political and social centers in the Valley of Mexico and set the strategies of evangelization that others would follow. One such activity, the Nahua theater of evangelization, is represented as an exemplary case of the inevitable cultural negotiation involved in the missionary process. The author explores not only the imposition of a Eurocentric worldview upon the Nahua but also the hybridization of this view as the spiritual colonizer attempted to encompass a new non-Western constituency and the latter interpreted Christianity according to its own cultural paradigms.
The book treats a wide range of texts—the Historia eclesiástica indiana, the Confessionario Mayor, the Coloquios de los Doce, and more—both by renowned Franciscan figures such as Gerónimo de Mendieta, Alonso de Molina, Bernardino de Sahagún, and by Nahua grammarians Antonio Valeriano de Azcapotzalco, Andrés Leonardo de Tlatelolco, and others. Díaz Balsera engages the cultural constraints of all the actors in the episodes she relates in order to show how the exchange between them resulted in the appropriation and/or alteration of the Spanish discourses of spiritual domination—sometimes even in their breakdown—and how it brought about the emergence of Nahua Christian subjects that would never fully leave behind their ancient ways of relating to the gods.
The Pyramid under the Cross will be of interest to readers in the areas of Hispanic literatures, history, religion, anthropology, Latin American and cultural studies, and to those working in the field of colonial studies.
|Introduction : Franciscans, Nahuas, and colonialism||3|
|Pt. I||The Christian word comes to Anahuac|
|1||The Colloquios y doctrina cristiana and the emergence of the Nahua Christian subject in sixteenth-century Mexico||15|
|Pt. II||Nahua theater of evangelization in sixteenth-century Mexico|
|2||Introduction to some cultural performance practices in medieval Spain and pre-Hispanic Mexico||53|
|3||Performing the limits of colonialist power : evangelization, irony, and resistance in the Neixcuitilli final judgment||65|
|4||A Judeo-Christian Tlaloc or a Nahua Yahweh? : domination, hybridity, and continuity in the Nahua evangelization theater||81|
|5||Performing otherness and identity in The fall of our first parents||97|
|Pt. III||Confession, acculturation, and resistance in sixteenth-century Mexico|
|6||Confession in the old and new worlds||117|
|7||Molina's Confessionario mayor and the impossible Nahua Christian subject||125|
|8||Juan Bautista's Advertencias para los confesores de los Naturales and the malaises of domination||147|
|Pt. IV||Falling back into history|
|9||Historia eclesiastica indiana or writing the crisis of providentialism||161|
|Conclusion : the pyramid under the cross||203|