1st Edition

Mind, Morality and Magic Cognitive Science Approaches in Biblical Studies

By Istvan Czachesz, Risto Uro Copyright 2013

    The cognitive science of religion that has emerged over the last twenty years is a multidisciplinary field that often challenges established theories in anthropology and comparative religion. This new approach raises many questions for biblical studies as well. What are the cross-cultural cognitive mechanisms which explain the transmission of biblical texts? How did the local and particular cultural traditions of ancient Israel and early Christianity develop? What does the embodied and socially embedded nature of the human mind imply for the exegesis of biblical texts? "Mind, Morality and Magic" draws on a range of approaches to the study of the human mind - including memory studies, computer modeling, cognitive theories of ritual, social cognition, evolutionary psychology, biology of emotions, and research on religious experience. The volume explores how cognitive approaches to religion can shed light on classical concerns in biblical scholarship - such as the transmission of traditions, ritual and magic, and ethics - as well as uncover new questions and offer new methodologies.

    Preface 1. The Cognitive Science of Religion: A New Alternative in Biblical Studies, Istvan Czachesz & Risto Uro 2. Past Minds: Evolution, Cognition and Biblical Studies, Luther H. Martin Part I: Memory and the Transmission of Biblical Traditons 3. How Religions Remember: Memory Theories in Biblical Studies and in the Cognitive Study of Religion, Petri Luomanen 4. Rethinking Biblical Transmission: Insights from the Cognitive Neuroscience of Memory, Istvan Czachesz 5. The Interface of Ritual and Writing in the Transmission of Early Christian Traditions, Risto Uro 6. Computer Modeling of Cognitive Processes in Biblical Studies: The Primacy of Urban Christianity as a Test Case, Istvan Czachesz & Anders Lisdorf 7. "I was El Shaddai, but now I'm Yahweh": God Names and the Informational Dynamics of Biblical Texts, Gabriel Levy Part II: Ritual and Magic 8. Is Judaism Boring? On the Lack of Counterintuitive Agents in Jewish Rituals, Tamas Biro 9. Ritual System in the Qumran Movement: Frequency, Boredom and Balance, Jutta Jokiranta 10. A Cognitive Perspective on Magic in the New Testament, Istvan Czachesz 11. From Corpse Impurity to Relic Veneration: New Light from Cognitive and Psychological Studies, Risto Uro Part III: Altruism, Morality, and Cooperation 12. Why Do Religious Cultures Evolve Slowly? The Cultural Evolution of Cooperative Calling and the Historical Study of Religions, Joseph Bulbulia, Quentin Atkinson, Russell Gray & Simon Greenhill 13. Empathy and Ethics: Bodily Emotion as Basis for Moral Admonition, Thomas Kazen 12. A Socio-Cognitive Perspective on Identity and Behavioral Norms in Ephesians, Rikard Roitto 13. Emotion, Cognition, and Social Change: A Consideration of Galatians 3:28, Colleen Shantz Notes Bibliography


    Istvan Czachesz, Risto Uro

    '...the editors and contributors have succeeded in publishing a highly readable, introductory volume with practical case studies, which can be recommended to anyone interested in delving deeper into the description of scientific tools pertinent to the study of historical ideas and beliefs.' – Vojtěch Kaše, University of Helsinki, Finland and Masaryk University, Czech Republic in Journal of Cognitive Historiography