Audio download of Professor Clay McNearney’s lecture “Robert Bellah and Julian Jaynes: An Imagined Conversation.”
From the Julian Jaynes Society Conference on Consciousness and Bicameral Studies.
Summary: Julian Jaynes’s ideas are most at home in the prophetic world of ancient Judaism. Robert Bellah, following Karl Jaspers, is probably most dependent upon ancient Greece, but Bellah tries to provide a foundation for his argument from other civilizations as well, including ancient Judaism. In Bellah’s most recent book, Religion in Human Evolution, he works out a tentative position that seems to be quite compatible with Jaynes (though Bellah does not mention Jaynes). This might follow less from the historical data, extensive though that is, than from Bellah’s understanding of biological evolution. Jaynes suggests that even if the biology that lay behind his theory proves to be false and/or misguided, that would not invalidate his theory. In such statements, perhaps Jaynes was relying on a reading of historical and literary data more than biological. This talk imagines a conversation between Bellah and Jaynes that explores their common interests, data, conclusions, and directions for the future.
All audio files are in mp3 format. Upon payment you will receive a link to download the file.