The First Prophets: Inside The Minds Of The World’s Oldest Religious Founders | Ancient Origins Members Site


The First Prophets: Inside The Minds Of The World’s Oldest Religious Founders

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La conversion de Saint Paul by Luca Giordano (1690), Museum of Fine Arts of Nancy. (Public Domain)

The First Prophets: Inside The Minds Of The World’s Oldest Religious Founders

"Let us be quiet, that we may hear the whispers of the gods." This quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson hints at the subjective experience of religious revelation - the revealing of a higher truth to a messenger by a supernatural deity. Religion is one of humankind's oldest and most important developments, and it has been studied from many perspectives: sociological, neurological, anthropological, and through evolutionary psychology. Despite its often destructive results, religion was originally intended to be beneficial, instructive, and hopeful.

Yet one still knows very little of how the first founders of the world's great religions actually thought. They all claimed to have experienced a religious revelation, beginning more than three millennia ago. What is at the heart of such experiences? Could there be a common mechanism at work in the minds of these great religious founders? This is difficult to gauge, as in many cases one has no reliable accounts of the lives of these individuals.

Moses with the Tables of the Law by Guido Reni (1624) Galleria Borghese (Public Domain)

Moses with the Tables of the Law by Guido Reni (1624) Galleria Borghese (Public Domain)


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