Manual de Ministros de Indios

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Author: Serna, Jacinto de la (?-1661) from the library of Professor George M Foster

Year: 1892

Publisher: Imprenta del Museo Nacional

Place: Mexico City


265-480 pages with 2 plates, illustrations, tables. Quarto (11 1/2" x 8 3/4") bound in quarter red leather, marbled boards and gilt lettering to spine. From the library of Professor George M Foster. Pagination follows its publication in a volume of the Anales del Museo Nacional de Mexioc. First edition.

Jacinto de la Serna was a 17th-century priest who recorded extensive information regarding the survival of native religious customs. Born in Mexico, he gained a doctorate in theology at the University of Mexico, of which he was later rector three times. As a young priest he served for 14 years in parishes of the Indians during the same time that Ruiz de Alarcon was making his investigations. He spent most of his later career in Mexico City, where he was one of the curates of the cathedral during three periods. He held important offices in the administrations of the archdiocese. He served as visitor general of the archdiocese under two archbishops. In 1656 he composed a work entitled Manual de ministros de indios para el conocimiento de sus idolatrias y extirpacion de ellas first published in 1892, in which he drew together the fruits of his own experience and the results of his studies. The purpose of the work was to acquaint the religious ministers with the superstitions of the Indians, so that they could better instruct their Indian charges. The work may be divided into four parts. In chapters 1-5 he traces the history of the efforts to put an end native religious practices. In this section he gives valuable details of his own activities and of those of his predecessors, such as Pedro Ponce de Leon and Hernando Ruiz de Alarcon. Chapters 6-11 are a study of the Aztec calendar, for which he drew heavily on Martin de Leon. Boturini later used some of his material. Chapters 12-27 treat of religious beliefs and practices of the Indians. Large sections were take directly or in paraphrase from Ruiz de Alarcon, including the latter's translations of Indian chants and prayers. Chapters 28-33 propose remedies against the continued practice of the native religions.

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.


Foster's stamp to title. Some extremity rubbing, boards slightly bowed else a very good copy.

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