Posts Tagged ‘Robert Bellah’

August 11th, 2013

Habits of the heart

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For some scholars in the humanities and social sciences, old age is a period of abiding productivity. Upon reaching his retirement, Robert N. Bellah, the leading sociologist of religion of the last decades and one of the United States’ most influential public intellectuals, trusted this would be the case, so he outlined the project of a global history of religion from its beginnings until the present.

In 2011, Bellah published Religion in Human Evolution, which spans from the rituals of hunters and gatherers to the cults and myths of archaic states to the “axial age.” This concept was advanced by the philosopher Karl Jaspers to capture the widely held assumption that the great religious and philosophical traditions that the world draws on to this day have their roots in innovations that took place around the middle of the first millennium BCE in the Jewish, Greek, Chinese and Indian civilizations.

 

March 22nd, 2013

Essays on Religion in Human Evolution

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Cambridge University Press is currently offering free access to the three essays in the review symposium on Robert Bellah’s Religion in Human Evolution from the December 2012 issue of the European Journal of Sociology.

March 13th, 2013

A conversation with Robert Bellah

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Margarita A. Mooney interviews Robert Bellah at Patheos.

December 6th, 2012

Upcoming talks by Robert Bellah

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Robert Bellah, the eminent American sociologist whose latest book, Religion in Human Evolution, was the subject of a recent discussion series on this blog, will be delivering two talks in the coming week.

September 4th, 2012

People make religions and religions make people

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In How to Believe, a blog on “great works of religion and philosophy” hosted by The Guardian, Andrew Brown has been writing about Robert Bellah’s Religion in Human Evolution.

July 20th, 2012

A Conversation with Robert Bellah on Religion in Human Evolution

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The following video is of Robert Bellah‘s comments at the 2011 annual meeting of the American Academy of Religion held in San Francisco.

July 10th, 2012

Evolutionary theory and religion

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Charles Mathewes, of The American Interest, discusses the role of religion in evolutionary theory and analyzes two publications on this topic.

July 10th, 2012

Colonialism’s religious domain

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Recently I am struck by the ambiguity of the concept of the religious. Reading Linda Heuman’s review of Robert Bellah’s Religion in Human Evolution, and then turning to Bellah’s book itself, after having been reading Ernst Kantorowicz’s The King’s Two Bodies, I feel as I have before how uncertain it is that we who write about religion in history are all writing about the same thing! Bellah’s book is an attempt to factor that uncertainty into the equation, for sure. In one part of Bellah’s overall reconstruction of “axial transitions” (including the birth of monotheism), he considers three case studies, two Native American and one Aboriginal Australian, with scrupulous care. The idea is to get a picture—before the shift to the ecumenical story, when the forces of the axial age change everything—of developmentally prior, not to say primordial, religions, without adopting anything as distortive as a model or a linear theory.

June 18th, 2012

New review of Bellah’s Religion in Human Evolution

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For Tricycle, an independent Buddhist publication, Linda Heuman reviews Robert Bellah’s Religion in Human Evolution, highlighting the place Bellah gives to reason in the book.

April 19th, 2012

Good news from the grand narrative

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To be asked to contribute a commentary on Professor Robert Bellah’s magnum opus is a great honor and a privilege that, in the virtual company of intellectuals of the highest caliber, manages to concentrate the mind and at the same time to fill you with despair; not least because Religion in Human Evolution stands as a measure of the distance that lies between routine, or ordinary, intellectual activity, and genuine, indeed extraordinary, intellectual achievement.