Religion in Human Evolution

Thirteen years in the making, Robert Bellah’s Religion in Human Evolution reflects a lifetime of scholarship. Exhibiting a deeply interdisciplinary approach that makes use of biology, cognitive science, and evolutionary psychology—and that presents case studies of ancient India, China, Israel, and Greece—the volume seeks to unearth the historical and biological embeddedness of human religion. Bellah follows the evolution of human and religious culture from the Paleolithic to the axial age—mapping tribal, archaic, and finally axial religious forms—and sites the emergence of religion in the evolution of a range of cultural faculties and social arrangements that developed throughout this period.

While he states that this is “not a book about modernity,” Bellah holds that there are links “between past and present,” and that “nothing is ever lost.”