A Genealogy of Evolutionary Theories of Religion as Discourses of Time

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  • 時間性の言説としての宗教進化論の系譜
  • ジカンセイ ノ ゲンセツ ト シテ ノ シュウキョウ シンカロン ノ ケイフ

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<p>This paper examines a history of evolutionary theories of religion from the nineteenth century to the present. “Evolutionary theories of religion” can be regarded as a type of theory that orders religions according to a certain temporal framework. In the history of evolutionary theories of religion, existing studies have only focused on theories which posit development from magic, through religion, to science. In fact, evolutionary theories of religion can be found throughout the history of religious studies in a variety of forms. Evolutionary theories of religion have developed through the connection with biological evolutionary theories of the times.</p><p> In the beginning, this paper identifies three different meanings of evolution. Then, it redefines “evolutionary theories of religion” as a sort of theory that sets a criterion of progress and arranges religions accordingly. Afterward, within the scope of the definition, a genealogy of evolutionary theories of religion is described. Auguste Comte and Herbert Spencer established the framework of these theories. In the mid-twentieth century, neo-evolutionism revitalized this framework and Talcott Parsons and Robert Bellah adapted it as a social change theory. Finally, evolutionary theories of religion in the twenty-first century are examined.</p>


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