St. Norbert College professor authors new book, "Gods of the Andes"

From , September 27, 2011
by Mike Counter, mike.counter@snc.edu, 920-403-3089

Sabine Hyland, associate professor of anthropology at St. Norbert College, has published "Gods of the Andes" (2011-Penn State University Press).

"Gods of the Andes" provides the first English translation of the earliest lengthy description of Inca religion, an account of the ancient customs of the natives of Peru (1594). The account includes original descriptions of many different aspects of Inca religion, including human sacrifice, the use of hallucinogens, mummification rituals, the existence of transgendered priests in the ancient Andes, divination rituals based on animal entrails, oracles, burials, and confession.

In her introductory chapters, Hyland presents the controversial life of the ascribed author, Blas Valera, a Jesuit who was ultimately imprisoned and exiled by the Jesuits for his "heretical" belief that the Incas worshipped the same creator god the Christians did; examines the account in the light of other colonial writings about the Incas; and outlines what we know about Inca religion through other sources, comparing Valera's version to those of other writers.

For more information go to the publisher's description page at http://www.psupress.org/books/titles/978-0-271-04880-2.html. Also, go to http://www.researchonreligion.org for a podcast interview about her book.

Sabine Hyland is an expert on Andean anthropology and Inca ethnohistory. Her current research focuses on studying hybrid alphabetic/khipu (Inca knotted string writing) texts in the Andes to see how these hybrid khipus recorded information. This research may provide insights into the decipherment of Inca khipus.

Hyland has been on the faculty of St. Norbert College since 1999. She can be reached at 920-403-3126 or sabine.hyland@snc.edu. View her professional webpage at http://home.snc.edu/sabinehyland/about/.