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On the origin of language’. Biosemiotics

Utility for Theology and Biblical Studies
The third way to render fruitful the interplay between cognitive science
and religion refers to the possibility of importing cognitive instruments and
methods into the field of theological research. There are some disciplines that
would surely benefit from this interaction, for example, the field of biblical
studies and historical theology. There is a bright landscape of new methods to be
applied to the task of biblical interpretation and the reading of documents
relevant to the history of Christian thought. Anyone familiar with the evolution
of biblical studies knows how much they depend on the assimilation of new
methodologies: the historical, the philological, the structuralist, and more
recently, the anthropological and sociological methods. I am convinced that the
assumption of cognitive views could help to reconstruct the cognitive schemas
or maps that defined the religious experience of ancient Israel, the early Church,
and the subsequent deepening of certain disciplines, revealing the signs of a
constant and logical evolution. Instead of being ‘deconstructive’ and
‘postmodern’, such a strategy would be construed as ‘re-constructive’, unveiling
Assessing cognitive approaches to religion: a theological account
the way entire populations and multiple generations have dealt with the religious
dimension and have found a compromise between the constant elements present
in their perceptions and the eventual changes that are part of an evolutive
process of religious thought and experience. At stake is a real contribution to the
hermeneutic challenges that any generation of believers experiences in proximity
to the sacred texts.
Furthermore, the application of cognitive methods to theological questions
can offer great insight into the so-called ‘mysteries of faith’, which can be
placed in relationship with some of the acknowledged limits of human cognition,
such as the mystery of ‘consciousness’. Then, these methods are able to shed
greater light and provide deeper insights into some classical and contemporary
theological questions, such as the meaning of ‘covenant’, Christological and
Ecclesiological issues, and the cognitive commonalities and differences between
Christian faith and other religions, as a useful tool in the inter-religious and
inter-faith dialogue