Religious Studies
College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Prof. Garry Sparks Awarded Two NEH Grants

Prof. Garry Sparks has been awarded two National Endowment for the Humanities fellowships for his work on the historical and theological encounter between the Spanish Dominican missionaries and the indigenous Mayan people of Guatemala. He was awarded an NEH grant for his research this summer on a 16th century Dominican priest’s notebook written in various highland Mayan languages, and currently held at the U.S. Library of Congress. The manuscript could prove to be the oldest known Christian text in any highland Mayan language and an early version of what still remains as the longest text written in any indigenous language of the Americas – the Theologia Indorum or “Theology of the Indians.” Prof. Sparks was subsequently awarded a much larger NEH grant for a collaborative project with an international group of scholars to translate the Theologia Indorum itself, and make it available in digital format for the first time.

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