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The Sociology Of Knowledge, The Social Identity Approach And The Cognitive Science Of Religion

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Chapter Summary

The cognitive science of religion emerged among scholars of comparative religion at the beginning of the 1990s. This chapter sketches a methodological roadmap for the application of the cognitive approach in conjunction with the social-scientific analysis of biblical and related materials. The chapter consists of four main sections. The first section discusses Peter Berger and Thomas Luckmann's sociology of knowledge. Berger and Luckmann's theory (1966) is often connected to phenomenology and social constructionism. The second section casts more light on the relationship between the social identity approach and the cognitive study of religion. The third section connects the social psychological discussion more directly with the physiological properties of the brain, demonstrating how cognitive neuroscience may help to validate social psychological theorizing. The final section expounds briefly on the application of some of the methodological insights developed in the previous sections.

Keywords: cognitive neuroscience; cognitive study of religion; Peter Berger; social identity approach; sociology of knowledge; Thomas Luckmann



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