The Cultural Evolution of Moralizing Religions in the Ancient Mediterranean Project (CEMRAM) : A Distant Reading Approach

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GLOMB Tomáš KAŠE Vojtěch

Year of publication 2021
Type Appeared in Conference without Proceedings
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Description The paper presents an interdisciplinary research project which aims to contribute to an ongoing debate in the cognitive science of religion and cultural evolution on factors responsible for the emergence of moralizing religions. Scholars propose either social complexity or economic prosperity as the key forces in these cultural processes and often refer to the religious history of the ancient Mediterranean in their arguments. In this regard, the project aims to explore the so called Affluence Hypothesis. This hypothesis suggests that the emergence of moralizing religions was caused by shifts in life-history strategies in response to the increase in economic prosperity. The project aims to evaluate this hypothesis by analyzing economic, demographic and religious dynamics of the ancient Mediterranean. To achieve this goal, the project will apply the methods of distant reading to explore the spatial and temporal relationships between occurrences of moralizing religions motifs in digitized corpora of ancient texts and inscriptions in Greek and Latin on the one hand and the level of affluence based on socio-economic proxy data on the other. The paper will discuss key methodological approaches of the project and their potential in selected case studies.
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