Ritual and Christian Beginnings

A Socio-Cognitive Analysis

Research output: Book/ReportBookScientificpeer-review

Abstract

The rise of early Christianity has been examined from a myriad of perspectives, but until recently ritual has been a neglected topic. Ritual and Christian Beginnings: A Socio-Cognitive Analysis argues that ritual theory is indispensable for the study of Christian beginnings. It also makes a strong case for the application of theories and insights from the Cognitive Science of Religion, a field that has established itself as a vigorous movement in Religious Studies over the past two decades. Risto Uro develops a "socio-cognitive" approach to the study of early Christian rituals, seeking to integrate a social-level analysis with findings from the cognitive and evolutionary sciences.

Ritual and Christian Beginnings provides an overview of how ritual has been approached in previous scholarship, including reasons for its neglect, and introduces the reader to the emerging fields of Ritual Studies and the Cognitive Science of Religion. In particular, it explores the ways in which cognitive theories of ritual can shed new light on issues discussed by early Christian scholars, and opens up new questions and avenues for further research. The socio-cognitive approach to ritual is applied to a number of test cases, including John the Baptist, the ritual healing practiced by Jesus and the early Christians, the social life of Pauline Christianity, and the development of early Christian baptismal practices. The analysis creates building blocks for a new account of Christian beginnings, highlighting the role of ritual innovation, cooperative signalling, and the importance of bodily actions for the generation and transmission of religious knowledge.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages240
ISBN (Print)9780199661176
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2016
MoE publication typeC1 Scientific book

Fields of Science

  • 614 Theology
  • New Testament, Early Christianity, Ritual Studies, Cognitive Science of Religion, cognitive historiography, Social-Scientific Interpretation

Cite this

Uro, Risto Ilmari. / Ritual and Christian Beginnings : A Socio-Cognitive Analysis. Oxford : Oxford University Press, 2016. 240 p.
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Ritual and Christian Beginnings : A Socio-Cognitive Analysis. / Uro, Risto Ilmari.

Oxford : Oxford University Press, 2016. 240 p.

Research output: Book/ReportBookScientificpeer-review

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AB - The rise of early Christianity has been examined from a myriad of perspectives, but until recently ritual has been a neglected topic. Ritual and Christian Beginnings: A Socio-Cognitive Analysis argues that ritual theory is indispensable for the study of Christian beginnings. It also makes a strong case for the application of theories and insights from the Cognitive Science of Religion, a field that has established itself as a vigorous movement in Religious Studies over the past two decades. Risto Uro develops a "socio-cognitive" approach to the study of early Christian rituals, seeking to integrate a social-level analysis with findings from the cognitive and evolutionary sciences.Ritual and Christian Beginnings provides an overview of how ritual has been approached in previous scholarship, including reasons for its neglect, and introduces the reader to the emerging fields of Ritual Studies and the Cognitive Science of Religion. In particular, it explores the ways in which cognitive theories of ritual can shed new light on issues discussed by early Christian scholars, and opens up new questions and avenues for further research. The socio-cognitive approach to ritual is applied to a number of test cases, including John the Baptist, the ritual healing practiced by Jesus and the early Christians, the social life of Pauline Christianity, and the development of early Christian baptismal practices. The analysis creates building blocks for a new account of Christian beginnings, highlighting the role of ritual innovation, cooperative signalling, and the importance of bodily actions for the generation and transmission of religious knowledge.

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Uro RI. Ritual and Christian Beginnings: A Socio-Cognitive Analysis. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016. 240 p.