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
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?
5 On the Origin of Symbols: Archaeology, Semiotics, and Self-Transcendence
Part III: Humility
Introductory Commentary: Humility
6 Archaeological Evidence for Human Social Learning and Sociality in the Middle Stone Age of South Africa
7 An Animal in Need of Wisdom: Theological Anthropology and the Origins of Humility and Wisdom
8 The Loss of Innocence in the Deep Past: Wisdom, Humility, and Grace within a Developing Understanding of the Emergence of Human Moral Emotions
9 Searching for the Soul of Homo: The Virtue of Humility in Deep Evolutionary Time
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
12 Continuities and Discontinuities in Human Evolution
The Routledge New Critical Thinking in Religion, Theology and Biblical Studies series brings high quality research monograph publishing back into focus for authors, international libraries, and student, academic and research readers. This open-ended monograph series presents cutting-edge research from both established and new authors in the field. With specialist focus yet clear contextual presentation of contemporary research, books in the series take research into important new directions and open the field to new critical debate within the discipline, in areas of related study, and in key areas for contemporary society.