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The Mystery Of The Stolen Body: Exploring Christian Origins

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Chapter Summary

This chapter provides an example of how the cognitive science of religion can be profitably applied in the study of early Christianity. It focuses on the question of what the disciples believed to have happened to Jesus after his death and how their reflections on this affected the early spread of what later came to be known as Christianity. Given the importance of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus for the Christian religion, it is important to ask what the facts about mentally representing dead agents might have to offer for explaining the early origins of Christianity. The chapter explains the legend of the empty tomb by focusing specifically on the urban legend of the stolen grandmother. There are many different versions of the story about the "stolen grandmother". In most cases, it is not possible to find out how a particular version of the story had originated.

Keywords: cognitive science; early Christianity; Jesus; stolen grandmother



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