Ritual and (im)moral voices: Locating the Testament of Judas in Sakapultek communicative ecology

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ABSTRACT

In this article, I examine el Testamento de Judas (the Testament of Judas), an annual letter “from” Judas Iscariot to the townspeople of Sacapulas, Guatemala. Drawing on a conceptual framework that synthesizes Bakhtinian concepts of voice and speech genres, I argue that the characteristics of the Testament of Judas serve to create idealized “voices” that reflect stances toward its content and audience. Furthermore, I demonstrate that the Testament can only be understood against the backdrop of Sakapultek Maya communicative ecology, including ritual wedding counsels, which constitute the Testament's moral instructional complement, and the quotidian genre of “gossip–scolding.”[voice, genre, moral discourse, ritual, Maya, Judas, Guatemala]

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