1st Edition

Theology and Evolutionary Anthropology Dialogues in Wisdom, Humility and Grace

Edited By Celia Deane-Drummond, Agustín Fuentes Copyright 2020
    280 Pages
    by Routledge

    278 Pages
    by Routledge

    This book sets out some of the latest scientific findings around the evolutionary development of religion and faith and then explores their theological implications. This unique combination of perspectives raises fascinating questions about the characteristics that are considered integral for a flourishing social and religious life and allows us to start to ask where in the evolutionary record they first show up in a distinctly human manner. 

    The book builds a case for connecting theology and evolutionary anthropology using both historical and contemporary sources of knowledge to try and understand the origins of wisdom, humility, and grace in ‘deep time’. In the section on wisdom, the book examines the origins of complex decision-making in humans through the archaeological record, recent discoveries in evolutionary anthropology, and the philosophical richness of semiotics. The book then moves to an exploration of the origin of characteristics integral to the social life of small-scale communities, which then points in an indirect way to the disposition of humility. Finally, it investigates the theological dimensions of grace and considers how artefacts left behind in the material record by our human ancestors, and the perspective they reflect, might inform contemporary concepts of grace. 

    This is a cutting-edge volume that refuses to commit the errors of either too easy a synthesis or too facile a separation between science and religion. As such, it will be of interest to scholars of religious studies and theology – especially those who interact with scientific fields – as well as academics working in anthropology of religion.

    List of Contributors

    Introduction: Dialogues in Theology and Evolutionary Anthropology

    Celia Deane-Drummond, Agustín Fuentes

    Part I: Mapping the Terrain

    1 Setting the Stage: Developing the Human Niche across the Pleistocene

    Agustín Fuentes

    2 The Emergence of Complexity and Novelty in the Human Fossil Record

    Rebecca Rogers Ackermann, Lauren Schroeder

    Part II: Wisdom

    Introductory Commentary: Wisdom

    Celia Deane-Drummond, Wentzel van Huyssteen

    3 On Homo naledi and its Significance in Evolutionary Anthropology

    John Hawks, Lee Berger

    4 Becoming Wise: What Can Anthropologists Say about the Evolution of Human Wisdom?

    Marc Kissel

    5 On the Origin of Symbols: Archaeology, Semiotics, and Self-Transcendence

    Andrew Robinson

    Part III: Humility

    Introductory Commentary: Humility

    Wendy Black

    6 Archaeological Evidence for Human Social Learning and Sociality in the Middle Stone Age of South Africa

    Jayne Wilkins

    7 An Animal in Need of Wisdom: Theological Anthropology and the Origins of Humility and Wisdom

    Jan-Olav Henriksen

    8 The Loss of Innocence in the Deep Past: Wisdom, Humility, and Grace within a Developing Understanding of the Emergence of Human Moral Emotions

    Penny Spikins

    9 Searching for the Soul of Homo: The Virtue of Humility in Deep Evolutionary Time

    Celia Deane-Drummond

    Part IV: Grace

    Introductory Commentary: Grace

    Celia Deane-Drummond, Agustín Fuentes

    10 What Difference Does Grace Make? An Exploration of the Concept of Grace in the Theological Anthropology of Karl Rahner

    Karen Kilby, J. Matthew Ashley

    11 Grace in Evolution

    Oliver Davies

    12 Continuities and Discontinuities in Human Evolution

    Jonathan Marks


    Celia Deane-Drummond is Director of the Laudato Si’ Research Institute and Senior Research Fellow at Campion Hall, University of Oxford, UK. 

    Agustín Fuentes is the Rev. Edmund P. Joyce, C.S.C. Professor and Departmental Chair of Anthropology at the University of Notre Dame, USA.