Publication details

Rethinking Secrecy in Religion : Cognition and the Intimacy of Secrecy


MAC GILLAVRY David William

Year of publication 2018
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source Method and Theory in the Study of Religion
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Field Philosophy and religion
Keywords secrecy; cognition; religion
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Description Secrecy is often studied as a social phenomenon in which certain information is concealed from a targeted audience out of fear of the repercussions, if this information were to fall into the wrong hands. It is therefore surprising that people are relatively willing to share their secrets with others. Traditionally, this behaviour has been explained on the bases of the assumption that people are naturally inclined to reveal their secrets. However, new evidence from the cognitive sciences and social psychology calls this assumption, and thus the theories of secrecy which rely on it, into question. In this article I present a re-interpretation of secrecy in light of this new evidence and evaluate what implications this holds for the study of secrecy in religion.
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