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Why do religious cultures evolve slowly? The cultural evolution of cooperative calling and the historical study of religions

Bulbulia, Joseph; Atkinson, Quentin; Gray, Russell; Greenhill, Simon

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Collective representations are the result of an immense cooperation, which stretches out not only into space but into time as well; to make them, a multitude of minds have associated, united and combined their ideas and sentiments: for them, long generations have accumulated their experience and their knowledge. A special intellectual activity is therefore concentrated in them, which is infinitely richer and complexer than that of the individual. (Émile Durkheim, Elementary Forms of the...[Show more]

dc.contributor.authorBulbulia, Joseph
dc.contributor.authorAtkinson, Quentin
dc.contributor.authorGray, Russell
dc.contributor.authorGreenhill, Simon
dc.date.accessioned2014-04-14T02:27:13Z
dc.date.available2014-04-14T02:27:13Z
dc.identifier.citationBulbulia, J., Atkinson, Q., Gray, R. & Greenhill, S. (2013). Why do religious cultures evolve slowly? The cultural evolution of cooperative calling and the historical study of religions. In I. Czachesz & R. Uro (Eds.). Mind, Morality and Magic: cognitive science approaches in biblical studies (pp.197-212). West Nyack, NY: Acumen Publishing
dc.identifier.isbn9781844657346
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/1885/11569
dc.description.abstractCollective representations are the result of an immense cooperation, which stretches out not only into space but into time as well; to make them, a multitude of minds have associated, united and combined their ideas and sentiments: for them, long generations have accumulated their experience and their knowledge. A special intellectual activity is therefore concentrated in them, which is infinitely richer and complexer than that of the individual. (Émile Durkheim, Elementary Forms of the Religious Life, [1912] 1965: 29)The languages and folkways of ancient peoples hold little relevance for us, except in one respect: the religions of the ancient world remain our religions. Though religions change, core features of the scriptures and rituals of the world's most popular religious traditions appear to have been conserved with remarkably high fidelity. We explain slow religious change from how religion facilitates cooperation at large social scales. At the end, we clarify how historians of religion, in collaboration with psychologists and computational biologists, might test and improve explanations such as ours.
dc.description.sponsorshipThis research was supported by the John F. Templeton Foundation (“Testing the Functional Roles of Religion in Human Society,” no. 28745), the Royal Society of New Zealand (“"e Cultural Evolution of Religion,” no. 11-UOA-239), and Victoria University of Wellington (URF grant award no. 8-3046-108855).
dc.format16 pages
dc.publisherAcumen Publishing
dc.relation.ispartofMind, Morality and Magic: Cognitive Science Approaches in Biblical Studies
dc.rights© The Authors
dc.source.urihttp://universitypublishingonline.org/acumen/chapter.jsf?bid=CBO9781844657346&cid=CBO9781844657346A021
dc.subjectreligion
dc.subjectculture
dc.subjectevolution
dc.subjecthistory
dc.subjectstudy
dc.titleWhy do religious cultures evolve slowly? The cultural evolution of cooperative calling and the historical study of religions
dc.typeBook chapter
dc.date.issued2014-04
local.identifier.absfor229999 - Philosophy and Religious Studies not elsewhere classified
local.identifier.ariespublicationu5234012xPUB53
local.publisher.urlhttp://universitypublishingonline.org/acumen/home.jsf
local.type.statusPublished Version
local.contributor.affiliationGreenhill, Simon, College of Asia and the Pacific, The Australian National University
dc.relationhttp://purl.org/au-research/grants/arc/de12010195
local.bibliographicCitation.startpage197
local.bibliographicCitation.lastpage212
local.identifier.absseo970122 - Expanding Knowledge in Philosophy and Religious Studies
dc.date.updated2015-12-08T03:43:54Z
local.bibliographicCitation.placeofpublicationDurham
CollectionsANU Research Publications

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