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Tongues of Fire – Language and Evangelization in Colonial Mexico - Oxford Scholarship Online
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Tongues of Fire: Language and Evangelization in Colonial Mexico

Nancy Farriss


Language and translation governed the creation of Mexican Christianity during the first centuries of colonial rule. Spanish missionaries collaborated with indigenous intellectuals to communicate the gospel in dozens of local languages that had previously lacked grammars, dictionaries, or alphabetic script. The major challenge to translators, more serious than the absence of written aids or the great diversity of languages and their phonetic and syntactical complexity, was the vast cultural difference between the two worlds. The lexical gaps that frustrated the search for equivalence in conveyi ... More

Keywords: language contact, translation, evangelization, Dominicans, colonial Mexico, Oaxaca, Zapotec, Christian doctrine, syncretism, Mesoamerica

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2018 Print ISBN-13: 9780190884109
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2018 DOI:10.1093/oso/9780190884109.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Nancy Farriss, author
Annenberg Professor of History Emerita, University of Pennsylvania

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