The Evolution of Religious Consciousness: From the Paleolithic to the Axial Age

School of Consciousness and Transformation PARP 6833 3.00

"This course will trace the emergence and evolution of human religious consciousness beginning with early Homo sapiens against the background of mammalian and primate evolution; continuing, through the major forms it has taken in primal or tribal societies from the Paleolithic era onward, the revolution wrought by the major archaic civilizations in Mesopotamia and Egypt; and climaxing in the great Axial Age transformation of the first millennium BCE, marked by the near-simultaneous appearance of the major world religious and philosophical traditions in ancient Israel, Greece, China, and India. We will use a close reading of Robert Bellah’s masterwork Religion in Human Evolution as the principal course text. Emphasis throughout will be on a sensitive transdisciplinary engagement with the complex historical developments being studied, drawing on not only history and religious studies but anthropology, sociology, biology, depth psychology, and philosophy. This course is an advanced participatory seminar and is open only to doctoral students, and to master’s degree students with the permission of the instructor." PCC PhD student

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