Todos Santos in Rural Tlaxcala: A syncretic, Expressive and Symbolic analysis of the Cult of the Dead

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Author: Nutini, Hugho G (1928–2013)

Year: 1988

Publisher: Princeton University Press

Place: Princeton


xv+471 pages with maps, photographs, and index. Royal octavo (9 1/2" x 6 1/2") bound in original olive green cloth with black spine label in gilt. First edition.

The cult of the dead, centered on Todos Santos, the All Saints Day - All Souls Day celebration, is one of the most important aspects of Mesoamerican Indian and mestizo religion. Focusing on rural Tlaxcala, in Mexico, Hugo Nutini presents a thorough description and analysis of the cult in it syncretic, structural, and expressive dimensions. He describes its development from the original confrontation of the pre-Hispanic polytheism and Spanish Catholicism, through colonial times, until the disintegration of the systems of folk religions that is even now occurring. The discussion of the expressive component of the cult of the dead is a crucial contribution of the study. Nutini shows the symbolism can be an adjunct to expressive studies, but not an end in itself. In addition, he postulates a theory that may serve as a model for studies of the combination and reconciliation of religious beliefs in other contexts. Emphasizing folk theology, teleology and eschatology, rather than the mechanical and administrative components that are frequently studied in works on Mesoamerican Indian and mestizo religions, he concluded that the local system is monolatrous, rather than monotheistic. Nutini aims to rescue information about the cult of the dead before it finally falls to the forces of modernization and orthodox Roman Catholicism, and he has taken infinite pains to secure a complete description of this hitherto thinly documented topic. His deep analysis of syncretism is valuable advance to the study of social change.


A fine copy in like jacket.


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