Fray Francisco Ximénez, O.P. was a Dominican friar born in Écija, Spain in 1666. He is the author of the manuscript known as Ayer MS 1515, housed at the Newberry Library in Chicago. MS 1515 includes the text presented here, "Empiezan las historias del origen de los índíos de esta provinçia de Gvatemala tradvcido de la lengva qviche en la castellana para mas commodidad de los mínístros de el Sto. Evangelío," or the Popol Vuh, and its attendant "Escolios." Ximénez compiled the work in 1701 and 1702 during his time as a parish priest in Santo Tomás Chichicastenango. In the prologue, he claims to have transcribed the K'iche' text from various indigenous sources and translated it into Spanish himself.
Ximénez arrived in Guatemala in 1688 and was ordained in 1689. Besides the text now known as the Popol Vuh, his works include a three-part linguistic study of K'iche', Zutujil, and Kaqchikel entitled Tesoro de las tres lenguas (1701–1704); Historia de la provincia de San Vicente de Chiapa y Guatemala de la Orden de Predicadores (1715); and Historia natural de Guatemala (1722). His writings are based on the knowledge of Mayan cultures and languages that he acquired as a parish priest and administrator over his approximately four decades in various Guatemalan towns, including Santo Tomás Chichicastenango, Rabinal, Santo Domingo de Xenacoc, Sacapulas San Raimundo, and Candelaria.
As Néstor Quiroa crucially notes, "Francisco Ximénez composed all of his works as a contribution to his order’s objective: to convert the native population to Christianity. Thus, it is not a coincidence that Ximénez placed his 'ethnographic' work on the Maya-K’iche’ religion within an ecclesiastic treatise, nor is it an accident that scholars have chosen to examine his text as if it existed apart from this religious context."
Ximénez died circa 1729.