Luther H. Martin
Department of Religion
University of Vermont
Evolution, Cognition, and History (of Religions)
March 10, 2014
Academic Building A G008, 5:00 PM
I have long argued that history of religions should actually take issues of historiography seriously. “History,” as an independent academic discipline was founded in the 1800s in the midst of the scientific spirit then sweeping Europe. In the twentieth century, “history” because resituated as one of the humanities with a hermeneutical focus on socio-cultural particulars. In the latter part of the twentieth century, however, some historians began to embrace a “return to science.” In my presentation, I would like to suggest some implications associated with that “return” for historiography, especially with respect to evolutionary theory and to theorizing in the cognitive sciences (which I understand to be framed by evolutionary theory), with brief examples from the history of religion.
I am Professor Emeritus of Religion, University of Vermont. I have also has been a Distinguished International Fellow at the Institute of Cognition and Culture, Queen’s University Belfast, and a Visiting Professor at Masaryk University, Brno. I am the author of Hellenistic Religions (1987) and of numerous articles in this field of historical specialization. I have also published widely in the field of theory and method in the study of religion, especially, in the area of cognitive theory and historiographical method, and have co-edited several volumes in this area, including Past Minds: Studies in Cognitive Historiography (2011). I am a founder of the North American Association for the Study of Religion and a member of the Honorary Board of its journal, Method & Theory in the Study of Religion. I am also a founding member of the International Association for the Cognitive Science of Religion and a senior editor of its Journal of the Cognitive Science of Religion, and I am a founding-senior editor of the new Journal of Cognitive Historiography.
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