Publication details

Affluence, agricultural productivity and the rise of moralizing religion in the ancient Mediterranean

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KAŠE Vojtěch GLOMB Tomáš

Year of publication 2022
Type Article in Periodical
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Keywords Affluence; Prosperity; Agriculture; Moralizing Religions; Antiquity; Data analysis
Description In this study, we focus on the way the authors of the target article (Peter Turchin et al.(2022) Explaining the rise of moralizing religions: a test of competing hypotheses using the Seshat Databank, Religion, Brain & Behavior) approach affluence and its role in the emergence of moralizing religions. In their analysis, they employ agricultural productivity as a proxy for affluence and operationalize it by means of Seshat’s Agri variable. While we believe that Agri might offer useful insights concerning the history of agriculture, we argue that it is not appropriate to employ it as a proxy for affluence in assessment of affluence-based accounts of moralizing religions (esp. Baumard et al., 2015). In support of our argument, we offer a more detailed look at the Agri data for four of Seshat’s natural geographic areas (NGAs) from the Mediterranean Sea region (MSR) from ca. 1000 BCE to 1000 CE and compare them with alternative approaches to affluence commonly used in the literature.
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