The Legacy of the Jaguar Prophet : An Exploration of Yucatec Maya Religion and Historiography

Bodil Liljefors Persson

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis (monograph)


This thesis deals with Maya religion and history. The Books of Chilam Balam is the collective title of a body of texts ascribed to the Jaguar Prophet. They are written in the Yucatec Maya language, and tell the reader about Yucatec Maya cosmology, rituals, prophecies, calendars, medicine and they are as well considered as Yucatec Maya emic historiography. These manuscripts are considered enigmatic and difficult to understand, as indeed they are. It is the aim of this thesis to try to interpret and highlight them aided by a contextual approach. Other features of Classic Maya religion, such as the concept of the divine, other mythological categories, the ritual ballgame and the scaffold human sacrifice, are described and reconstructed by analysing and synthesising recent archaeological and epigraphical research results. The Cruzoob religion of the contemporary Yucatec Maya who live in the eastern parts of the Yucatan peninsula, is also presented and placed in its historical context. The Post-Colonial Cruzoob religion is analysed as a synthesis of both Yucatec Maya and Catholic religious traditions. This thesis is an exploration of Yucatec Maya religion and historiography, and the Books of Chilam Balam are considered collectively as a valuable Legacy of the Jaguar Prophet.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Centre for Theology and Religious Studies
  • [unknown], [unknown], Supervisor, External person
Award date2000 May 19
Print ISBNs91-22-01873-5
Publication statusPublished - 2000

Bibliographical note

Defence details

Date: 2000-05-19
Time: 10:15
Place: Carolinasalen, Kungshuset

External reviewer(s)

Name: Geertz, Armin
Title: Professor
Affiliation: University of Århus Denmark


The information about affiliations in this record was updated in December 2015.
The record was previously connected to the following departments: History and Anthropology of Religions (015017025)

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • History of Religions


  • Theology
  • Ballgame
  • Sacrifice
  • Mythology
  • Rituals
  • Books of Chilam Balam
  • Historiography
  • History
  • Prophecy
  • Maya
  • Religion
  • Teologi


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