When Ancient Societies Hit a Million People, Vengeful Gods Appeared

This new study dovetails with Julian Jaynes’s theory and the changing nature of bicameral voices as societies became more complex.

“Every god is a jealous god after the breakdown of the bicameral mind” – Julian Jaynes

By Charles Q. Choi

“For we know Him who said, ‘And I will execute great vengeance upon them with furious rebukes; and they shall know that I am the Lord, when I shall lay my vengeance upon them.'” Ezekiel 25:17.

The God depicted in the Old Testament may sometimes seem wrathful. And in that, he’s not alone; supernatural forces that punish evil play a central role in many modern religions.

But which came first: complex societies or the belief in a punishing god?

A new study suggests that the formation of complex societies came first and that the beliefs in such gods helped unite people under a common higher power.


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