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Lecture, Translating God(s): Intertextuality between Missionary and Maya Literature in Colonial Guatemala

The University of Massachusetts Amherst and Amherst College are pleased to host a lecture by renowned Author and Professor Garry Sparks Thursday 09/28 at 5:00 in Herter 301.

Garry Sparks is an Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at George Mason University. He is the author of The Americas’ First Theologies: Early Sources of Post-Contact Indigenous Religion (Oxford University Press, 2017), and is producing a critical translation of the Theologia Indorum from K’iche’ Maya.

Early sixteenth-century Spanish Dominicans developed an alphabet to write the Mayan languages, but also adopted elements of Maya myths to convey Christian theology. And within only a few decades, the last pre-contact generation of Maya leaders began to write their own documents with the mendicants’ orthography. Focusing on names for Christian and Maya god(s), intertextual analysis between the Dominican Theologia Indorum (Theology for the Indians) and the K’iche’ Popul Wuj (Book of the Council) allows for a tracing of histories of transmission and reception during the period of first encounters.