3. The Value(s) of Belief: Ancient Religion, Cognitive Science and Interdisciplinarity
Jason P. Davies [+]
University College London
‘Belief’ remains a vexed term in the study of ancient religion despite the fact that almost every publication on the topic aspires to bring the discussion to a point of completion. I shall argue that secular enquiries into aspects of ‘religion’ and ‘belief’ in particular will inevitably lead to scholarly fissure. This in part lies behind the long-standing disciplinary willingness to explore extradisciplinary methods and questions. The recent appearance of cognitive science of religion offers particular opportunities – and risks – that are the latest in a series of interdisciplinary borrowings. I shall outline these opportunities and risks, identifying some broad implications for history of religion as a field before contextualizing cognitive science of religion within the framework of cultural theory.