The last REECR workshop: cultural evolution of religion

Can evolutionary theory help us in understanding religion? The use of evolutionary perspectives on the study of religion or culture more generally has a long history which is full of controversies and misunderstandings. To take one example, the shadow of Social Darwinism has been long-standing in cultural and social studies. In the wake of the cognitive study of religion, however, a growing number of religion scholars have begun to apply various aspects of evolutionary theory to explaining the origin and the spread of religious ideas and behaviours.

Can culture be analyzed in terms of biological evolution? Are common patterns in religious beliefs and behaviours across cultures due to genetic evolution? Does evolutionary theory provide a unifying framework for social sciences and humanities? What has evolutionary perspective to offer for the study of early Judaism and early Christianity? These and many other questions will be addressed in a two-day workshop organized by the “Ritual and the Emergence of Early Christian Religion” project (REECR) and CoE on “Changes in Sacred Texts and Traditions” (CSTT), University of Helsinki. The venue of the event is Faculty of Theology, Vuorikatu 3, Faculty hall (23 May) and room 532 (24 May).

For a preliminary program and further information click here.

The workshop is open to all. Registration for meals required by 15 May. To sign up for the workshop, click here.

This will be the last workshop organized by the REECR project. The term of the project comes to a close by the end of August.

In connection of the workshop a lecture course on “Evolutionary and Psychological Foundations of Religion” will be offered, taught by Docent István Czachesz. More information on the lecture course is found here.