The Persistence of Nahua Culture

“Abraham and Isaac”
Faustino Chimalpopoca Galicia, translator
Mexico City: 1856 [1678]

This Nahuatl play based on the biblical story of Abraham and the sacrifice of Isaac explored a traditional theme of Christian sacred history for a Nahua speaking audience. The theme of obedience to God is demonstrated first through Isaac’s submission to his father and then by Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son at God’s request. Though not the main theme of the play, the subject of human sacrifice likely played an important role in reminding an indigenous audience to accept the Christian covenant in the terms established through divine law. More importantly, through performance, this play displays appropriate ways for a Nahua to address God and to behave obediently to one’s parents as well as to God’s commandments.

Newberry Library: Ayer MS 1481 a2

Back to Section