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Mesoweb Publications

Mesoweb Publications

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Published by azriel7

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Published by: azriel7 on Sep 26, 2009
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Mesoweb Publications
Sacred Book of the Quiché Maya People
Translation and Commentary by
Allen J. Christenson
 Popol Vuh: Sacred Book of the Quiché Maya People
. Electronic version of original 2003 publication.Mesoweb: www.mesoweb.com/publications/Christenson/PopolVuh.pdf.
2To my wife, Janet 
 Xa at nu saqil, at nu k'aslemal Chib'e q'ij saq
This volume is the culmination of nearly twenty-five years of collaboration with friends andcolleagues who have been more than generous with their time, expertise, encouragement, andat times, sympathy. It has become a somewhat clichéd and expected thing to claim that awork would not be possible without such support. It is nonetheless true, at least from myexperience, and I am indebted to all those who helped move the process along.First and foremost, I would like to express my sincerest gratitude to my Maya teachers,colleagues, and friends who have selflessly devoted their time and knowledge to help carryout this project. Without their efforts, none of it would have ever gotten off the ground. Iwould like to particularly recognize in this regard don Vicente de León Abac, who, with patience and kindness, guided me through the complexity and poetry of K'iche' theology andceremonialism. Without his wisdom, I would have missed much of the beauty of ancestralvision that is woven into the very fabric of the
 Popol Vuh
. I dearly miss him. I would also liketo acknowledge the profound influence that Antonio Ajtujal Vásquez had on this work. Itwas his kind and gentle voice that I often heard when I struggled at times to understand theancient words of this text. Others who have aided this work include Diego Chávez Petzey, Nicolás Chávez Sojuel, Felix Choy, Gregorio Chuc, Juan Mendoza, Francisco Mendoza, andJuan Zárate.I am deeply indebted to Jim Mondloch for his extraordinary generosity in offering to readthrough the translation. His depth of knowledge with regard to K'iche' grammar, syntax, and
3modern usage were invaluable. I purchased a copy of his “Basic Quiché Grammar” in 1976 tohelp in my quest to learn the language at a time when such aids were very rare. The book wasa steadfast friend and companion during the next few years. Not only was it a brilliant work  but it proved to be just the size and weight to dispatch mosquitos on the wall of my adobeshack. I thus owe to him, not only much of my initial knowledge of the K'iche' language, butmy red blood cell count in those days as well.I am also grateful to John Robertson for his guidance, particularly with regard to theorthography of the text. He was a patient educator to me when I began work with the K'iche'language nearly twenty-five years ago, helping to prepare a dictionary and grammar. He wasan ideal boss and a wise teacher. It is a great honor for me to occupy the office next door tohis at the university.I am sincerely indebted to my friend and colleague Ruud van Akkeren who went toextraordinary lengths to share with me his profound understanding of highland Mayaethnohistory. I value his knowledge, experience, and generosity in reading through variousversions of this volume and offering his insights.As in much of what I do that is of worth in the academic world, I acknowledge theinfluence of my mentor, Linda Schele. As a graduate student, Linda encouraged me tocomplete the translation of the
 Popol Vuh
at a time when I was content to throw up myhands after I had worked through the mythic sections. It was her love for the Maya peopleand passion for their language that reminded me why we take on overwhelming tasks such asthis, and why it’s worth the price in life and heart that we put into them.Among the many who have contributed in invaluable ways to this project, I would like torecognize with my sincerest thanks the following individuals: Claude Baudez, Karen Bassie,James Brady, Linda Brown, Margaret Bruchez, Michael Carrasco, Garrett Cook, Doris Dant,John Early, Sam Edgerton, Enrique Florescano, John Fox, David Freidel, Stephen Houston,Kerry Hull, Julia G. Kappelman, Peter Keeler, Justin Kerr, Bob Laughlin, Bruce Love, John

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