, Volume 33, Issue 2, pp 487–497 | Cite as

Cognitive Science of Religion and the Study of Theological Concepts

  • Helen De Cruz


The cultural transmission of theological concepts remains an underexplored topic in the cognitive science of religion (CSR). In this paper, I examine whether approaches from CSR, especially the study of content biases in the transmission of beliefs, can help explain the cultural success of some theological concepts. This approach reveals that there is more continuity between theological beliefs and ordinary religious beliefs than CSR authors have hitherto recognized: the cultural transmission of theological concepts is influenced by content biases that also underlie the reception of ordinary religious concepts.


Cognitive science of religion Evolutionary approaches to culture Content biases Theology 



Many thanks to Hugo Mercier, Ryan Nichols, Eric Schwitzgebel and Johan De Smedt for their suggestions to earlier versions of this manuscript. This research has been financially supported by a travel grant to Oxford from the Research Foundation Flanders.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Research Foundation Flanders, Institute of PhilosophyUniversity of LeuvenLeuvenBelgium
  2. 2.Faculty of PhilosophyUniversity of OxfordOxfordUK

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