Evolution, Cognition, and the History of Religion: A New Synthesis

Festschrift in Honour of Armin W. Geertz


Evolution, Cognition, and the History of Religion: A New Synthesis comprises 41 chapters that push for a new way of conducting the study of religion, thereby, transforming the discipline into a genuine science of religion. The recent resurgence of evolutionary approaches on culture and the increasing acknowledgement in the natural and social sciences of culture’s and religion’s evolutionary importance calls for a novel epistemological and theoretical framework for studying these two areas. The chapters explore how a new scholarly synthesis, founded on the triadic space constituted by evolution, cognition, cultural and ecological environment, may develop. Different perspectives and themes relating to this overarching topic are taken up with a main focus on either evolution, cognition, and/or the history of religion.

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Anders Klostergaard Petersen is Professor for the Study of Religion at Aarhus University. He has published extensively on Second Temple Judaism, including early Christ-religion, and theoretical and methodological matters, including The Emergence and Evolution of Religion: By Means of Natural Selection, co-authored with Jonathan Turner et al. (Routledge 2017).
Ingvild Sælid Gilhus is Professor for the Study of Religion at Bergen University. She has published extensively on ancient and modern religion with a focus on early Christianity, in particular asceticism and Christian Gnosticism, including Animals, Gods, and Humans. Changing Attitudes to Animals in Greek, Roman, and Early Christian Ideas (Routledge 2006).
Luther H. Martin is Professor Emeritus for Religion at the University of Vermont. He has written copiously on ancient Graeco-Roman religion, methods and theories, and was a pioneer in promoting the cognitive science of religion, including Conversations and Controversies in the Scientific Study of Religion. Collaborative and Co-authored Essays by Luther H. Martin and Donald Wiebe (Brill 2016).
Jeppe Sinding Jensen is Associate Professor at Aarhus University. His particular expertise lies in the philosophy of science with a focus on religion. He has published widely, including What Is Religion? (Routledge 2014).
Jesper Sørensen is Associate Professor at Aarhus University. He has worked especially on magic and cognitive science of religion in general, including A Cognitive Theory of Magic (AltaMira 2007).
All scholars and students interested in the study of religion, anthropology, cognitive science, biocultural evolution, history of religion, and moral psychology.
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