Pastoral Quechua: The History of Christian Translation in Colonial Peru, 1550-1654

University of Notre Dame Pess
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Pastoral Quechua explores the story of how the Spanish priests and missionaries of the Catholic church in post-conquest Peru systematically attempted to “incarnate” Christianity in Quechua, a large family of languages and dialects spoken by the dense Andes populations once united under the Inca empire. By codifying (and imposing) a single written standard, based on a variety of Quechua spoken in the former Inca capital of Cuzco, and through their translations of devotional, catechetical, and liturgical texts for everyday use in parishes, the missionary translators were on the front lines of Spanish colonialism in the Andes. The Christian pastoral texts in Quechua are important witnesses to colonial interactions and power relations. Durston examines the broad historical contexts of Christian writing in Quechua; the role that Andean religious images and motifs were given by the Spanish translators in creating a syncretic Christian-Andean iconography of God, Christ, and Mary; the colonial linguistic ideologies and policies in play; and the mechanisms of control of the subjugated population that can be found in the performance practices of Christian liturgy, the organization of the texts, and even in certain aspects of grammar.
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About the author

Alan Durston is associate professor of history at York University, Toronto, Canada.

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Additional Information

Publisher
University of Notre Dame Pess
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Published on
Oct 25, 2007
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Pages
416
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ISBN
9780268077983
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Language
English
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Genres
History / Americas (North, Central, South, West Indies)
History / Latin America / South America
Religion / Christianity / General
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This content is DRM protected.
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From the Hardcover edition.
This volume makes a vital and original contribution to a topic that lies at the intersection of the fields of history, anthropology, and linguistics. The book is the first to consider indigenous languages as vehicles of political orders in Latin America from the sixteenth century to the present, across regional and national contexts, including Peru, Mexico, Guatemala, and Paraguay. The chapters focus on languages that have been prominent in multiethnic colonial and national societies and are well represented in the written record: Guarani, Quechua, some of the Mayan languages, Nahuatl, and other Mesoamerican languages. The contributors put into dialogue the questions and methodologies that have animated anthropological and historical approaches to the topic, including ethnohistory, philology, language politics and ideologies, sociolinguistics, pragmatics, and metapragmatics. Some of the historical chapters deal with how political concepts and discourses were expressed in indigenous languages, while others focus on multilingualism and language hierarchies, where some indigenous languages, or language varieties, acquired a special status as mediums of written communication and as elite languages. The ethnographic chapters show how the deployment of distinct linguistic varieties in social interaction lays bare the workings of social differentiation and social hierarchy. Contributors: Alan Durston, Bruce Mannheim, Sabine MacCormack, Bas van Doesburg, Camilla Townsend, Capucine Boidin, Angélica Otazú Melgarejo, Judith M. Maxwell, Margarita Huayhua.
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