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Tongues of FireLanguage and Evangelization in Colonial Mexico$
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Nancy Farriss

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780190884109

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190884109.001.0001

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Continuity and Convergence

Continuity and Convergence

(p.285) Chapter 11 Continuity and Convergence
Tongues of Fire

Nancy Farriss

Oxford University Press

Continuities in written doctrinal language contrast with semantic shifts within the indigenous speech community, revealed through petitions, testaments, trial testimony, and other records, as well as modern oral evidence. As the Mesoamerican cultural matrix has itself been modified by Christian practice and visual symbols, new associations have become attached to traditional linguistic resources. At the same time the Indians have reformulated and reinterpreted the Christian message along lines consonant with traditional cosmology and moral theology. Thus cultural gaps, and along with them linguistic gaps, have narrowed through the process of religious syncretism. Mutually reinforcing influences have converged in the creation of the particular variety of religious devotion defined as Mexican Christianity.

Keywords:   language change, religious syncretism, Zapotec, Mexican Christianity, judicial records, cultural change

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