Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Amerindian Reactions to Old World Religions


  • How compatible was Christianity with Mesoamerican religious beliefs and practices?
  • To what extent did indigenous religious practices alter after the conquest?

Primary Sources

  • Matthew Restall, Lisa Sousa and Kevin Terraciano, eds., Mesoamerican Voices: Native-Language Writings from Colonial Mexico, Oaxaca, Yucatán, and Guatemala, Cambridge University Press (Cambridge, 2005), chapter 8: ‘Religious Life’. (Partially available on Google Books, as well as in the Library.)
  • The Lords and Holy Men of Tenochtitlán Reply to the Franciscans, 1524 (1564), in Colonial Spanish America: A Documentary History, eds. Kenneth Mills and William Taylor, SR Books (Wilmington, 1998), pp. 19-22. (Also on Google Books)

Required Secondary Reading

Please read ONE of the following:

  • Burkhart, Louise, The Slippery Earth: Nahua-Christian Moral Dialogue in Sixteenth-Century Mexico, University of Arizona Press (Tucson, 1989), chapters 1, 2, 7 (PDF Document)
  • Gruzinski, Serge, The Conquest of Mexico: The Incorporation of Indian Societies into the Western World, 16th-18th Centuries, Polity Press (Cambridge, 1993), ‘Colonial Idolatry’.

Additional Reading

  • Dibble, Charles, ‘The Nahuatilization of Christianity’, in Sixteenth-Century Mexico: The Work of Sahagun, ed. Munro Emerson, University of New Mexico Press (Albuquerque, 1974).
  • Griffiths, Nicholas, and Fernando Cervantes, Spiritual Encounters: Interactions between Christianity and Native Religions in Colonial America (Birmingham, 1999).
  • Griffiths, Nicholas, The Cross and the Serpent: Religious Repression and Resurgence in Colonial Peru (Norman, 1996).
  • Lockhart, James, The Nahuas After the Conquest (Stanford, 1992), chapter 6: ‘Religious Life’.
  • Peterson, Jeanette Favrot, ‘Crafting the Self: Identity and the Mimetic Tradition in the Florentine Codex’, in Sahagún at 500: Essays on the Quincentenary of the Birth of Fr. Bernardino de Sahagún, OFM., ed. John F. Schwaller, Academy of American Franciscan History (Berkeley, 2003).