The aims of this research are both methodological and substantive. Methodologically, the project will integrate traditional methods used in biblical studies with empirical research from various fields, used in the cognitive science of religion and in ritual studies, to develop interdisciplinary models for the study of early Christianity. Substantially, it will specify and explain the role of ritual innovations in the rise and spread of the early Christian movement.
The research will proceed in three partly overlapping stages: (1) programmatic methodological work by the PI; (2) empirical testing and research in the three specific areas listed above; and (3) a conclusive analysis, carried out together with other scholars collaborating with the project.
The research will be conducted as a joint project of Nordic scholars specializing in ritual studies and in cognitive approaches.