Creation of the Sacred: Tracks of Biology in Early Religions is based on the Gifford Lecture series delivered by Walter Burkert at St Andrews University in the academic year 1988–89. While reflecting on the mandate delivered to lecturers by Lord Gifford’s will, Burkert notes that in the roughly one hundred years between the date of the will and the date of his lecture series, natural science has been steadily in ascendance, the idea and ideal of Nature has been in decline—while religion, however problematic it has become, retains a tenacious grip on the human imagination. This combination of factors leads Burkert to direct his inquiry towards the role of biology in the evolution of religious phenomena, which he investigates through an examination of current sociobiological theories alongside readings of Mesopotamian, Babylonian, Ancient Greek and Jewish religious texts.
1988 to 1989
University of St. Andrews
- Alana Howard, University of Glasgow