The Myths of the Opossum: Pathways of Mesoamerican Mythology
Published in 1990 under the title Los mitos del tlacuache, this is the first major theoretical study of Mesoamerican mythology by one of the foremost scholars of Aztec ideology. Using the myth cycle of the opossum and the theft of fire from the gods as a touchstone, Lopez Austin constructs a definition of myth that pertains to all of Mesoamerican culture, challenging the notion that to be relevant such studies must occur within a specific culture. Shown here is that much of modern mythology has ancient roots, despite syncretism with Christianity, and can be used to elucidate the pre-Columbian world view. Analysis of pre-Columbian myths can also be used to understand current indigenous myths. Subtopics include the hero and his place in the Mesoamerican pantheon, divine space and human space, mythic event clusters, myth as truth, and the fusion of myth and history. This book presents a unique description of the Mesoamerican world view for students of comparative religion, history of religion, folklore, ethnology, and anthropology.
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according action adventure ancestors ancient Nahua animals attributes bacabs beginning birth body calendar called Carrasco changes chapter character characteristics Chichimec Chilam Balam Chinantec Chinantla classification complex concept corn cosmic cosmic trees created creation cultural divine forces earth Ehecatl elements episodes everything example existence explain expression fire four functions García genre give goddess gods groups Huichol Huitzilopochtli important inchoation indigenous invisible kinds Leyenda literary López Austin Lord Maya Mazatec meaning Mesoamerican religious Mesoamerican tradition Mexico Mictlan Mixtec Moon myth myth-belief myth-narration mythic belief mythic narration mythic tale Nahuatl Nanahuatzin narrative nature nodal subjects opossum opposition origin Otomi Popol vuh problem processes produced pulque Quetzalcoatl Quiche reality refer relationships religion religious tradition ritual sacred Sahagún similar social societies specific story supernatural symbols Tamoanchan Teotihuacan Tezcatlipoca thought tion Totonac transformation tree Tzotzil underworld versions woman Zapotec