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Popol Vuh: The Sacred Book of the Maya: The Great Classic of Central American Spirituality, Translated from the Original Maya Text Paperback – March 1, 2007


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 328 pages
  • Publisher: University of Oklahoma Press (March 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0806138394
  • ISBN-13: 978-0806138398
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 5.4 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #141,311 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Allen J. Christenson is Associate Professor of Humanities, Classics, and Comparative Literature at Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah. He is the author of Art and Society in a Highland Maya Community: The Altarpiece of Santiago Atitlan.

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

78 of 80 people found the following review helpful By A Careful and Attentive Reader on August 17, 2004
Format: Paperback
It would be a shame to let the slipshod and factually inaccurate review (below) pass without correction and comment as this is an exciting new scholarly edition of the most important extant Maya text.

Even a cursory reading of the first page of the introduction (and throughout) would have supplied the information that the translator Christenson's primary Maya linguistic expertise is in Quiché (or K'iche'). And of course it would be extraordinarily foolhardy for anyone to attempt a translation of the Popol Vuh without a knowledge of the language in which the text is written.

This is not the place to rehearse the arguments regarding the purpose, practise and philosophy of translation - this has been done at great length by such well known commentators on the subject as Eco and Steiner not to mention the myriad even more technical writers. But the writer of the previous review passes judgement on the `accuracy' of the translation compared to that of Tedlock's readable and famously demotic version. One has to wonder how this judgement has been arrived at, and logically, what third, control element was used against which to compare the accuracy of the translations. Surely this would have had to have been the 16th century Quiché text which would, of course, require a knowledge of that language and it's historical orthography. It seems more likely that the reviewer simply compared the two translations; not much of a methodology. It would be a travesty if such an inadequate critique was allowed to stand unchallenged.
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By XibalbaScott on October 10, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I agree with the last review. This is the best version of the Popol Vuh to date. Tedlock's is good but this translation, format, and over all presentation is excellent. The first review seems to have a case of the sour grapes!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Carolyn Giddens on July 7, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
This book is a must have for anyone interested in the ancient Mayan culture. The author lived among the Mayans while he translated the Popol Vuh (Mayan mythology) and shares much of what he learned from them, as well as what they learned from him.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Mark on January 10, 2014
Format: Paperback
This translation of the Mayan Sacred work was extremely helpful to me in researching and learning about the civilization. Christensen has extensive knowledge on the Maya and their language. Whereas many translations of Popol Vuh come from Spanish translations (a translation of a translation), this one comes straight from the text's native language. Awesome!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By V. M. Badertscher on January 23, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Since I'm not a scholar, I cannot judge whether this is the best of the many translations and explications of Popol Vuh. Although the footnotes make it perhaps more detailed than an ordinary reader can digest, I learned a great deal about the Maya by reading this. Fascinating stories with fascinating parallels to legends of other religions, including Jewish and Christian.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By The Disquieted Pen on January 19, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I purchased this for a class, but had no idea that the Mayan mythology system was as robustly recorded as it is. Definitely a keeper.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Marcus on January 11, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Great translation and the footnotes are super-helpful. Great background information. This is the book I used to create my Popol Vuh lecture.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was looking forward to what ancient texts would reveal about the events beyond our understanding. It's translated well but the format is somewhat lacking. The Preface is longer than it should of been. Being straightforward, get to the content immediately, nobody really cares about the pet parrot and what cute mud puddle your child slipped on (<All my exaggeration), this book was bought on the premise that to point to history and the mystery it shrouds upon on.
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