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The Burden of the Ancients


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Table of Contents

  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction
  • 1. Pre-Columbian Rituals of World Renewal in Yucatan
  • 2. New Year's Ceremonies in the Maya Highlands
  • 3. Easter and the Spanish Conquest
  • 4. Post-Conquest Ceremonies of World Renewal
  • 5. Holy Monday
  • 6. Holy Tuesday
  • 7. Holy Wednesday
  • 8. Holy Thursday
  • 9. Good Friday
  • 10. Aftermath and Conclusions
  • Bibliography
  • Index

Promotional Information

"What makes this book unique and important is that it makes the argument that traditional Mayan rituals are about world renewal and that Holy Week is a rich repository of Maya renewal symbolism in convincing, point-by-point detail within the context of a very complete critical review of the conquest and colonial sources and a thorough knowledge of the Atitecan tradition." -- Garrett W. Cook, Baylor University, coauthor of Indigenous Religion and Cultural Performance in the New Maya World and author of Renewing the Maya World: Expressive Culture in a Highland Maya Town

About the Author

Allen J. Christenson is a professor of Pre-Columbian studies in the Department of Comparative Arts and Letters at Brigham Young University. His publications include a two-volume critical edition of the Popol Vuh, the most important single work of ancient Maya literature that survived the Spanish Conquest, and Art and Society in a Highland Maya Community: The Altarpiece of Santiago Atitlan.


"An important new contribution to the general study of enduring, ancient Maya traditions adapted to serve in modern times." * Choice *
"That the Maya continued to practice traditional beliefs within their Christianity is not novel, but the details, interviews, photos, and descriptions contained in this book's chapter's contribute a new and exciting window through which to glimpse this blending of worldviews. As a result, the work would be a beneficial read to all with scholarly interests in the Maya." * Hispanic American Historical Review *
"Christenson's distinct contribution lies in documenting the specific degree of blending of two entire ritual cycles rather than individual elements. For the Mesoamericanist, Christenson's book is well worth reading for his method and its content." * Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Anthropology *

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