Coloquios y Doctrina Cristiana

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Author: Sahagun, Bernardino de (1499–1590)

Year: 1986

Publisher: Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico (UNAM)

Place: Mexico City


214 pages with frontispiece, facsimile, bibliography and index. Folio (13 3/4" x 9") bound in red cloth with gilt lettering in black boarder to spine and UNAM stamped gilt to front cover. Sub tile Con que los doce frailes de San Francisco, enviados port el papa Adriano VI y por el emperador Carolos V, convirtieron a los indios de la Nueva Espana. En lengua mexicana y espanola. Los dialogos de 1524, dispuestos por fray Bernardino de Sahagun y sus colaboradores Antonio Valeriano de Azcapotzalco, Alonso Vegerano de Cuauhtitlan, Martin Jacobita y Andres Leonardo de Tlatelolco, y ortros cuatro ancianos my entendidos en todas sus atinguedades. Paleography, notes by Miguel Leon-Portilla. First edition limited to 6000 copies.

The Colloquios is divided into two books. The first reproducesconversations that occurred between the first twelve Franciscans sent to the New Worldand a group of Nahua elite. Here the Franciscans focus on conversion, i.e., convincingthe Nahuas of the universal and absolute truth of Christian doctrine. The second bookcontains a systematic exposition of sixteenth-century Catholic doctrine and catechism. Itprovides the theological foundations for the Franciscans’ speeches in the first book.Sahagún cast the Colloquios in the genre of a colloquy consisting of a series ofquestions and answers. This dialogical format was modeled on a longstanding Christianconception of catechism, which in turn was based on both the Church’s conception ofthe early conversations of the twelve apostles with intended converts, and on thedialogues of Socrates. Catechism standardly refers to oral instruction, especially wherethis involves the dialogue of questioning and answering. It is employed for instructingsomeone in the elements of religion and for preparing her for initiation into Christianity.Its goal is doctrinal and moral. It should lead to knowledge, yet this knowledge shouldlead to action. The dialogue of the Colloquios pivots on the truth of three revealeddoctrines: the God of the Scripture is the one and only true God, creator of the universe;Scripture is true; Jesus is the Son of God. The Colloquios is an extremely rich document that allows numerous avenues ofinterrogation, analysis, and deconstruction. It highlights the unstable “dialogical frontier” between two alternative philosophical orientations: Franciscan and Nahua. Despitebeing forcibly seized and put into the ideological service of a “heavily controlled text” of hegemonic European catechism, the philosophical orientation of the Nahua ‘other’ nevertheless “leaks out”. Rather thanreproducing a Socratic-style debate consisting of syllogistic arguments defending thetruth versus falsity of logically incompatible theological doctrines and knowledge claimsas León-Portilla maintains. Thephilosophical borderland that emerges in the Colloquios is occupied not so much by twoparties who make contradictory truth claims as it is by two parties who fundamentallymisunderstand and fail to communicate with one another. León-Portilla believes itis a twofold error to read the Nahuas as mounting a last-ditch, syllogistic defense of thetruth of their religious beliefs since they neither (a) advance syllogistic arguments nor (b)conceive of religion as consisting of a corpus of beliefs, the truth of which permitssyllogistic defense.


Edges bumped else a better than very good copy in a near fine jacket.

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