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Texts, Dialogue and Contexts


Dialogic nature of language/texts: Orders Given to the Twelve (1523) #8 The Lords and Holy Men of Tenochtitlan Reply to the Franciscans (1524) #3 – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Texts, Dialogue and Contexts

Texts, Dialogue and Contexts
  • Dialogic nature of language/texts
  • Orders Given to the Twelve (1523) 8
  • The Lords and Holy Men of Tenochtitlan Reply to
    the Franciscans (1524) 3
  • Contexts restless discipline of context
  • Where do you find texts?
  • Contexts as frames
  • Context of the Encuentro/Great Encounter

Orders Given to the Twelve (1523)
  • Francisco de los Angeles (1475-1540), minister
    general of the Franciscan order, later Cardinal
  • The New World as Battleground/Vineyard
  • Apocalyptic urgency Hurry down to the active

Athirst for the welfare of souls
  • "Among the continuous cares and affairs which
    daily present themselves to me and occupy my
    mind, this one presses, worries, and afflicts me
    first of all, as to how with all the cunning of
    my bowels and continual sighs of my heart, I
    might labor with the apostolic man and father of
    ours, Saint Francis, toward liberating and
    snatching away from the maw of the dragon, the
    souls redeemed with the most precious Blood of
    Our Lord Jesus Christ, deceived by satanic wiles,
    dwelling in the shadow of death, held in the vain
    cult of idols---and bring them to fight under the
    banner of the Cross and to place their neck into
    the yoke of Christ, through you, my dearest
    brothers, with the favor of the Most High
    because otherwise I shall not be able to escape
    the zeal of Saint Francis athirst for the welfare
    of souls, pounding day and night with unceasing
    knocking at the door of my heart."  

A Few Mad men
  • Preach by example
  • Via activa/via contemplativa(9)
  • Sublimest poverty
  • "For, thus become madmen of the world, you might
    convert the world by the foolishness of your
  • And the Lord told me that I would be a new
    madman in the world. The Legend of Perugia
  • Diego Mufioz Camargo Historia de Tlaxcala

The Lords and Holy Men of Tenochtitlan Reply to
the Franciscans (1524)
  • Florentine Codex The twelve volume encyclopedia
    of Aztec life describing the supernatural, human
    and natural world of pre-Columbia central
  • Compilation Bernardino Sahugún (1499-1590),
    editor, primarily Nahuatl text prepared by native
    students, parallel translations.
  • Original source materials interviews with native
  • Illustrations done by Aztec scribes (tlacuilo)
  • Prologue Diagnosing the native

Giving order to the unknown
  • Twelve books of the Florentine Codex
  • 1.) Gods
  • 2.) Ceremonies
  • 3.) Origin of the Gods
  • 4.) Astrology and Divining
  • 5.) Omens and signs
  • 6.) Rhetoric and moral philosophy
  • 7.) Natural Astrology
  • 8.) Kings and Lords, governments
  • 9.) Merchants and artisans
  • 10.) Vices and virtues of Indian people,
    Health and medicine
  • 11.) Animals, birds, fish, trees, grass,
    flowers, metals
  • 12.) The Conquest of Mexico
  • Encylopedia tradition Bartholomeus Anglicus De
    Proprietatus rerum
  • Pliny, Naturalis Historia
  • Classifying and giving order

Signifying the other

Ambivalent terms
  • God, our lord, has brought you to rule us. We
    do not know where you come from or where our
    lords and gods dwell because you have come from
    the sea, through clouds and mist, a route we have
    never known. God sends you among us as His own
    eyes, ears, and mouth. He who is invisible and
    spiritual becomes visible through in you.
  • You have told us that we do not know the One who
    gives us life and being, who is Lord of the
    heavens and of the earth. You also say that
    those that we worship are not gods. This way of
    speaking is totally new to us.

And the word was Dios/teotl
  • "The word in language is half someone else's.  
    It becomes 'one's own' only when the speaker
    populates with his own intention, his own accent,
    when he appropriates the word, adapting it to his
    own semantic and expressive intention.  Prior to
    this moment of appropriation, the word does not
    exist in a neutral and impersonal language (it is
    not, after all, out of the dictionary that the
    speaker gets his words!), but rather it exists in
    other people's intentions it is from there that
    one must take the word, and make it one's
    own."     Bakhtin, The Dialogic Imagination

  • Translations god saint demon
  •  Used interchangebly with Dios in
    Sahagún's Colloquios y doctrina christiana (1564)
  • Anything mysterious, prominent, beyond the
  • Vital force in this world, natural phenomena
  • Often paired with tlatoani divine speaker
  • Corporeality of the divine deity-impersonators

Encounters and Exchanges I
  • Despite the intellectual prominence of
    psychoanalytic and Marxist accounts of fetish,
    the anthropologist William Pietz's genealogy of
    the concept and term points to violent colonial
    encounter and religious misunderstanding as a key
    and overlooked historical engine for their
    development and reproduction in the European
  • 16th and 17th century encounters between
    Portuguese slave traders and West Africans
    fetish deriving from Portuguese word for magic
    and witchcraft. Indigenous investments in
    cultural objects considered fantastical and
    dangerous by European Christians.
  • If Pietz is correct, our very economic and
    secular psychological concepts are always and
    already laden with histories of terrible
    cross-cultural encounters and colonial
    management. Marx and Freud overlay theory upon
    colonial histories which we can excavate.

Commodity Fetish
  • For Marx, social suffering stems from alienation
    specific to the context of industrial capitalism.
    Our world and self transforming capacities are
    constrained by the artificial and technical
    division of life into production and
    consumption/work and leisure. Labor is performed
    for wages, exchanged on the market, rather than
    necessarily serving practical, organic ends. The
    objects of our labor, commodities, are measured
    according to abstract exchange value rather than
    organic use value. Marx uses poetic language
    (e.g., such as in his description of the
    theological niceties and mystical character
    of commodities) to discuss the ways in which the
    concrete grounds for production are obscured by
    our projections and externalization of human
    values onto commodities. They are like idols and
    false gods until we realize that they have no
    life or power beyond the distortions of economic
    conditions. They distort human relationships.

A Pope Rewards So Salutary and Laudable a
  • (conquest) not without the greatest labors and
    expense and with dangers and loss of life and
    property and the slaughter of many of their
    natural subjects
  • Also by the laudable endeavor and industry of
    said infante (Afonso), very many inhabitants or
    dwellers in diverse islands situated in the said
    sea, coming to the knowledge of the true God,
    have received Holy Baptism

A Pope Rewards So Salutary and Laudable a Work
  • In time it might happen that persons of other
    kingdoms or nations, led by envy, malice, or
    covetousness, might presume, contrary to the
    prohibition aforesaid, without license and
    payment of such tribute, to go to said provinces,
    and in the provinces, harbors, islands, and sea,
    so acquired, to sail, trade and fish.

Orders Given to the Twelve (1523)
  • Fray Francisco de los Angeles ...I might labor
    with the apostolic Blood of Our Lord Jesus
    Christ, deceived by satanic wiles, dwelling in
    the shadow of death, held in the vain cult of
    idolsand bring them to fight under the banner of
    the Cross
  • (you) are not hired for a price like others,
    but like true sons of a father, not seeking your
    own interests but those of Jesus Christ without
    promise of pay or reward

Orders Given to the Twelve (1523) Con't
  • Further than this, I charge and command you the
    twelve through the merit of holy obedience, and
    the rest who in the future should join your
  • And win the for Christ in such a manner that
    among all Catholics an increase of faith, hope
    and love may result

Bernardino de Sahagún'sThe Lords and the Holy
Men of Tenochtitlan Reply to the Franciscans
  • You showed us all sorts of precious stones...you
    showed us new kinds of feathers, rich ones of
    great value
  • We know that you come from among the clouds
  • It would be a fickle and foolish thing for us to
    destroy the most ancient laws and customs left by
    the first inhabitants of this land (Hierophanies
    and Ritual Power)

Profe Carrasco's Work
  • Make sure to pay close attention to what he has
    to say about rites of renewal and human sacrifice
    among the Aztecs (ch 3) What's being exchanged?
  • Chicano resistance as most vocally represented by
    the Farmworkers Union, fighting for just wages
    and cultivating agricultural commodities. But,
    among other things, they have recourse in
    hierophanies But in the religious imagination a
    sacred place can be anywhere there is a
    revelation of the spiritual resources and destiny
    of a people. (Carrasco, Religions of
    Mesoamerica, 156)

Chiquita Banana
(No Transcript)
Restless Seekers of Context
  • One of the most difficult realizations for
    students of religion to reach is the multiple,
    sometimes contradictory meanings of symbols or
    religious symbols. In a religious cosmovision,
    whether in Mesoamerica or Europe or China, a
    single symbol will have multiple meanings--Davíd
    Carrasco, Religions of Mesoamerica, 137
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