Americana thebaida. Vitas patrum de los religiosos hermitanos de N.P. San Augustin de la provincia de San Nicolas Tolentino de Mechoacan, escrita por Fr. Matias de Escobar, ano 1729
Publisher: Imprenta Victoria
Place: Mexico City
xlvii+897 pages with plates and foldout picto-gram. Royal octavo (9 1/2" x 7 1/4") bound in half brown leather with raised spine bands and gilt lettering to spine with original wrappers bound in. Edited by Nicolas Leon. From the library of George M Foster. second edition.
Matias de Escobar continued the narrative started by Diego Basalenque by drawing on him, on Grijalva and on a lost manuscript by Jacinto de Aviles. His own work has never been completely published. He brought events down to his own time, 1729. He entitled it Americana Thebaida, with a subtitle indicating it was to contain lives of the Augustinians of Michoacan. It contents fall into 61 chapters. The early ones repeat the pioneer history of the Augustinians in Mexico and Michoacan. The author devotes much attention to mission methods for Indian conversions, the founding of monasteries and biographies of numerous Augustinian missionaries, especially from his own province. His account has a wider scope in place and time than similar Augustinian efforts. But as a stylist, Escobar is close runner-up to Burgoa for lowest honors. His baroque sentences are overloaded with pretentious and irrelevant erudition, sacred and profane. Hence Americana Thebaida is seldom read for pleasure. Escobar's work still awaits proper publication. Nicolas Leon twice edited the chronicle, neither time completely successfully. Santiago Vela re-issued chapter 17 of book I from the original manuscript, dealing with the historians of the Chapter. He also has provided critcal notices of the extant editions, in one instance providing a complete table of contents. (Handbook of Middle American Inidans: vol 13, pg 161.)
George McClelland Foster, Jr born in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, on October 9, 1913, died on May 18, 2006, at his home in the hills above the campus of the University of California, Berkeley, where he served as a professor from 1953 to his retirement in 1979, when he became professor emeritus. His contributions to anthropological theory and practice still challenge us; in more than 300 publications, his writings encompass a wide diversity of topics, including acculturation, long-term fieldwork, peasant economies, pottery making, public health, social structure, symbolic systems, technological change, theories of illness and wellness, humoral medicine in Latin America, and worldview. The quantity, quality, and long-term value of his scholarly work led to his election to the National Academy of Sciences in 1976. Virtually all of his major publications have been reprinted and/or translated. Provenance from the executor of Foster's library laid in.
Spine ends and points rubbed, Foster's date of acquiry (9/11/44) on half title, lack's Foster's stamp
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