Sabine Hyland’s new book presents an English translation of most of the Relación de las costumbres antiguas de los naturales del Pirú, an anonymous sixteenth-century text containing a description of native Andean religious beliefs and practices. The translated work includes a general description of Inca religion, sacrifices, temples, religious officials, divination, confession, penance, hermits, consecrated virgins, superstitions, and an account of the conversion of the Indians to Christianity. This text appears to belong to a somewhat heterodox, late sixteenth-century tradition that contrasts with most of the other known ethnohistorical sources from this period. As such, it is often neglected as an inaccurate account informed by an ideological bias. As Hyland explains, the text clearly defends Inca religion by presenting it as a precursor to Christianity; but it nonetheless constitutes a valuable source of information for understanding sixteenth-century Andean culture and its relationship...

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