Academic journal article Mankind Quarterly

The Maya and Catholicism: An Encounter of World Views

Academic journal article Mankind Quarterly

The Maya and Catholicism: An Encounter of World Views

Article excerpt

The Maya and Catholicism: An Encounter of World Views John D. Early University Press of Florida, 2006

John D. Early, Mayan ethnographer and professor emeritus of anthropology at Florida Atlantic University, is an established authority on Mayan culture, and is therefore well placed to have authored this really quite significant study. In today's shrinking world, in which terms like "the clash of cultures" have become commonplace, an in-depth study such as this of what has happened in the past when two quite separate worldviews come into contact is of great interest to all readers. Today's descendants of the Mayans appear to be strongly attached to the Catholicism of their conquerors, but Early's study shows that this is not totally true, and explains what has actually happened in respect of this remarkable fusion of two very different cultures.

To do this, John Early first examines the ritual calendars of the Mayan Indians in Guatemala and the regions of Chiapas and Yucatan in Mexico, which revolve around festivals in honor of the Catholic saints. The Mayans themselves expect Catholic priests to celebrate mass and baptize newborn infants, yet they have not accepted Catholic ideology and values in any orthodox sense. …

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