Carl Scherzer

Carl Scherzer (1821 – 1903) was born May 1821 in Vienna. His participation in the 1848 revolution resulted in temporary exile. He worked a stint as a printer in both Leipzig and Paris. Scherzer spent three years in North America with Moritz Wagner from 1852 to 1855. It was during this trip that in 1854 Scherzer encountered several colonial manuscripts in the municipal library and in the library of the Universidad de San Carlos. He found three of Ximénez’s works in the university’s library: an incomplete Historia de la provincia de San Vicente de Chiapa y Gvatemala, a vocabulary, and an untitled volume “of greater interest.” He made or had a copy made of the material that came to be known as “Popol Vuh” and published it in Vienna in 1857 as Las Historias del Origen de Los IndiosScherzer’s edition was the first in print and his introduction contained a detailed inventory of the full volume that served as his source.

Scherzer’s travels with Wagner also formed the basis for his 1855 work, Sprachen der Indianer Central-Amerika’s während seinen mehrjährigen Reisen in den verschiedenen Staaten Mittel-Amerika’s aufgezeichnet und zusammengestellt. About the same time that he published Las Historias del Origen de Los Indios in 1857, he also published an account of his American travels as Wanderungen durch die mittelamerikanischen Freistaaten, Nicaragua, Honduras und San Salvador or Travels in the Free States of Central America: Nicaragua, Honduras, and San Salvador. This travelogue reads much like a personal diary.

In 1856 Scherzer boarded the Novara circumnavigation expedition and published his experiences in three volumes. He led an exploration to Eastern Asia and served as Austrian consul to Izmir, London, Geneva, and Leipzig. Scherzer died February 1903 in Gorizia. However, well before Scherzer’s death, Brasseur appropriated Ximénez’s writings for a different purpose, namely, to prove the origin of the Indians in accordance with his literal Biblical worldview.

Karl Ritter von Scherzer

Karl Ritter von Scherzer (1821 – 1903) was born May 1821 in Vienna. His participation in the 1848 revolution resulted in temporary exile. He worked a stint as a printer in both Leipzig and Paris. Scherzer spent three years in North America with Moritz Wagner from 1852 to 1855. It was during this trip that in 1854 Scherzer encountered several colonial manuscripts in the municipal library and in the library of the Universidad de San Carlos. He found three of Ximénez’s works in the university’s library: an incomplete Historia de la provincia de San Vicente de Chiapa y Gvatemala, a vocabulary, and an untitled volume “of greater interest.” He made or had a copy made of the material that came to be known as “Popol Vuh” and published it in Vienna in 1857 as Las Historias del Origen de Los IndiosScherzer’s edition was the first in print and his introduction contained a detailed inventory of the full volume that served as his source.

Scherzer’s travels with Wagner also formed the basis for his 1855 work, Sprachen der Indianer Central-Amerika’s während seinen mehrjährigen Reisen in den verschiedenen Staaten Mittel-Amerika’s aufgezeichnet und zusammengestellt. About the same time that he published Las Historias del Origen de Los Indios in 1857, he also published an account of his American travels as Wanderungen durch die mittelamerikanischen Freistaaten, Nicaragua, Honduras und San Salvador or Travels in the Free States of Central America: Nicaragua, Honduras, and San Salvador. This travelogue reads much like a personal diary.

In 1856 Scherzer boarded the Novara circumnavigation expedition and published his experiences in three volumes. He led an exploration to Eastern Asia and served as Austrian consul to Izmir, London, Geneva, and Leipzig. Scherzer died February 1903 in Gorizia. However, well before Scherzer’s death, Brasseur appropriated Ximénez’s writings for a different purpose, namely, to prove the origin of the Indians in accordance with his literal Biblical worldview.

Popol Vuh

Fresco depicting scene from Popol VuhPopol Vuh is a religious text of the Central American Maya indians. Stated more precisely, Popol Vuh is a periconquest oral mythistory (myth + history)  of the highland Quiché (K’iche’) Maya. The mythic component comprehends a creation story, a diluvian suggestion, and epic tales of anthropomorphic ancestors. The myth transitions into history through its tale of an eastward ancestral migration to observe the first dawn through which the sojourners acquire fire and evolve distinct languages, tribes, and clans. We are told how the Quichean tribes arrived in the western highlands and there is an anecdotal account of how the Quiché rise to prominence over their Cakchiquel and Tzutuhil relatives. Popol Vuh also describes a society that, anthropologically speaking, seems to depict settlement and intertribal conflict of the terminal late classic period (roughly AD 790 to 1000). Popol Vuh concludes with regnal genealogies leading to the time of the Spanish conquest (AD 1524). Ontologically speaking, Popol Vuh exists as a product of exponential supposition and as a consequence there are really two distinguishable conceptual and physical Popol Vuh entities.Continue Reading

Rethinking the Context of Popol Vuh

Doctoral Dissertation. Although seventeenth-century Dominican priest Francisco Ximénez is credited for conservation of Popol Vuh, no critical attention is given to his personal agency and his ecclesiastical agenda. The oversight is particularly disconcerting where he plainly states in his prologue, “Esta mi obra, y trabaxo discurro q’ avra muchos q’ la tengan por la mas futil y vana de las q’ he trabaxado, asi lo pensaran muchos; y yo lo discurro al contrario, porq’ entiendo ser la mas util, y neçesaria.” My investigation is founded on answering the question: Why did Father Ximénez believe conservation of this text to be his crowning achievement? I answer this question by examining the four prologues of the Ayer manuscript to uncover Ximénez’s significant interaction with the text.Continue Reading