Call Us: US - +1 845 478 5244 | UK - +44 20 7193 7850 | AUS - +61 2 8005 4826

Studies in Musicology

Consider this description by the 16th-century nun Saint Teresa of Avila of her vision of Christ: “I saw in his hand a long spear of gold, and at the iron’s point there seemed to be a little fire. He appeared to me to be thrusting it at times into my heart, and to pierce my very entrails; when he drew it out, he seemed to draw them out also, and to leave me all on fire with a great love of God.”

Sign Up
The theories of Guthrie and Newberg imply that religion originated as what the biologists Stephen Jay Gould and Richard Lewontin call a “spandrel.” Spandrel is an architectural term for the space between an arch and its surrounding structure. The spandrel does not, at least initially, serve any function; it is just a by-product of the arch. Gould and Lewontin borrowed the term to refer to accidental by-products of evolution. Perhaps religion is a spandrel piggybacking on adaptations such as the orgasm or theory of mind, both of which serve obvious biological purposes.