Christianizing the Nahua

Alonso de Molina
Arte de la lengua mexicana y castellana
Mexico: Pedro de Ocharte, 1571

The Spanish missionaries relied on the indigenous elite to collaborate on the translation of the Christian tradition and to control indigenous religiosity. The choice of the form of Nahuatl spoken by the nobility as the literary language for indigenous education and evangelization was, as Molina reveals, a conscious agenda on the part of the friars.

Father Alonso de Molina’s Arte de la lengua played a key role in the standardization of classical Nahuatl as the language of Nahua Christianity.

Newberry Library: Vault Ayer 871 .A953 M7 1571

Back to Section