How do historians understand the minds, motivations, intentions of historical agents?
What might evolutionary and cognitive theorizing contribute to this work?
What is the relation between natural and cultural history?
Historians have been intrigued by such questions ever since publication in 1859 of Darwin's The Origin of Species, itself the historicization of biology.
This interest reemerged in the latter part of the twentieth century among a number of biologists, philosophers and historians, reinforced by the new interdisciplinary finding of cognitive scientists about the universal capacities of and constraints upon human minds.
The studies in this volume, primarily by historians of religion, continue this discussion by focusing on historical examples of ancient religions as well as on the theoretical promises and problems relevant to that study.