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The first English translation of Guy Stresser-Pean's tour-de-force presents two decades of fieldwork in the Sierra Norte de Puebla, Mexico, where native pre-Hispanic pagan beliefs blended with traditional Catholic evangelization from the sixteenth century and the more recent intrusion of modernism. The Indians of the Sierra Norte de Puebla are deeply devoted to Christianity, but their devotion is seamlessly combined with pagan customs, resulting in a hybrid belief system that is not wholly indigenous, yet not wholly Christian. The syncretism practiced here has led the Totonac and Nahua people to identify Christ with the Sun God, a belief expressed symbolically in ritual practices such as the Dance of the Voladores. Spanning the four centuries from the earliest systematic campaign against Nahua ritual practices - Zumarraga's idolatry trials of 1536-1540 - to the twentieth century, Stresser-Pean contextualizes Nahua and Totonac ritual practices as a series of responses to Christian evangelization and the social reproduction of traditional ritual practices. The Sun God and the Savior is a monumental work on the ethnographic and historical knowledge of the peoples of the Sierra Norte.
Guy Stresser-Pean did ethnological fieldwork in the Sierra Norte de Puebla since he retired from his official posts in 1970. He wrote six other books in that time and has made seven ethnological documentaries with his wife, Claude Stresser-Pean.