Date: Thu Feb 06 2003 - 12:27:44 EST
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The Darwinian Interpretation of Biblical Symbols
The paper demonstrates how the religion/science divide can be bridged by
interpreting two Biblical allegories from a Darwinian perspective.
The behavioral structure of the religious experience is determined from the
obvious references to psychological states and evolved behaviors in the
allegory of the fall of Adam and Eve. A conceptual framework is then
presented from which inferences regarding ontological anxiety and pure
altruism are easily drawn, providing new impetus for the study of spiritual
disciplines. A table lists the basic allegorical symbols from the Biblical
text with their psychological counterparts.
The evolutionary strategy of Judaism is revealed in the allegory of Jacob and
Esau, “the elder shall serve the younger,” by observing the successes and
failures of Jacob and his progeny over three generations coupled with Jacob’s
cunning breeding of Laban’s flocks, cited by Charles Darwin in The Origin of
Species. This earliest known Biblical source for religiously disciplined
group selection is identified. The relevance of religious discipline as
nascent “pastoral science” for modern communities is rationalized.
While researching the paper, a translation concern over the nature of Leah’s
eyes was identified in a few newer editions of the Bible by its departure
from an otherwise perfect allegorical structure demonstrating the utility of
the Darwinian toolkit for Biblical exegesis.
The paper was written as religion, as psychology/anthropology and as
Biblical exegesis, religious experience, evolutionary strategy, group
selection and I.Q.
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