Edited and translated by Garry Sparks
Foreword by Robert M. Carmack, with Sergio Romero and Frauke Sachse.
The Theologia Indorum by Dominican friar Domingo de Vico was the first Christian theology written in the Americas. Made available in English translation for the first time, The Americas' First Theologies presents a selection of exemplary sections from the Theologia Indorum that illustrate Friar Vico's doctrine of god, cosmogony, moral anthropology, understanding of natural law and biblical history, and constructive engagement with pre-Hispanic Maya religion. Rather than merely condemn the Maya religion, Vico appropriated local terms and images from Maya mythology and rituals that he thought could convey Christianity. His attempt at translating, if not reconfiguring, Christianity for a Maya readership required his mastery of not only numerous Mayan languages but also the highly poetic ceremonial rhetoric of many indigenous Mesoamerican peoples.
This book also includes translations of two other pastoral texts (parts of a songbook and a catechism) and eight early documents by K'iche' and Kaqchikel Maya authors who engaged the Theologia Indorum. These texts, written in Highland Mayan languages both by fellow Dominicans and by Highland Maya elites demonstrate the wider influence of Vico's ethnographic approach shared by a particular school of Dominicans. Altogether, The Americas' First Theologies provides a rich documentary case example of the translation, reception, and reaction to Christian thought in the indigenous Americas.