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Ritual and Christian Beginnings$
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Risto Uro

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780199661176

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199661176.001.0001

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Ritual, Culture, and the Human Mind

Ritual, Culture, and the Human Mind

A Socio-cognitive Approach

Chapter:
(p.41) 2 Ritual, Culture, and the Human Mind
Source:
Ritual and Christian Beginnings
Author(s):

Risto Uro

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199661176.003.0003

This chapter introduces the reader to the Cognitive Science of Religion (CSR), especially to those aspects of this new field that are relevant for a deeper understanding of the cognitive theories used in this book. CSR is a research programme which draws on a growing body of knowledge from the cognitive and evolutionary sciences to explain human religiosity. It is a pluralistic movement, comprising different schools and currents; what they have in common is the effort to achieve explanatory and testable theories, as well as a multilevel analysis of religious phenomena. The survey of the schools and currents in CSR provides a basis for suggesting a ‘socio-cognitive approach’ to early Christian rituals, relying on cognitive theories of ritual that operate at both a social and a cognitive level. Three perspectives on ritual emerge from the discussion, described by the keywords ‘action’, ‘cooperation’, and ‘religious knowledge’.

Keywords:   Cognitive Science of Religion, evolutionary theory, cultural evolution, explanation, theoretical pluralism, middle-range theory, socio-cognitive approach

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