A quick glance at Christian Texts for Aztecs reveals an unmistakable air de famille with City, Temple, Stage, Jaimes Lara’s previous book. The similarities are physical (format, design, lavish illustrations), thematic, and deliberate, as the author has conceived of these two works as a diptych of sorts. Calling attention to the complementary nature of the two works, however, also invites a comparison that makes more apparent the flaws of this handsomely produced volume, ultimately lessening the effect of the whole.

However controversial its claims, Lara’s City, Temple, Stage made a strong case for reconsidering sixteenth-century Mexican religious architecture as inspired by a set of simple yet powerful Christian ideas, at the center of which was the notion of the holy city traversing space and time until the fulfillment of history. Whereas that book dealt with the making of sacred space in the...

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