Experimenting the Rise of Early Christianity in Cultural Evolution

Martyrs, Manuscripts, and Hostility towards Outgroups

Why were stories of martyrs so popular among early Christians? Did they help to spread Christianity? Did hostility towards outsiders and deviant insiders advance Christianity more than altruism? How was manuscript tradition shaped by occasional large-scale destruction of copies? The project approaches these key questions concerning the rise of Christianity through the theory of cultural evolution, which seeks to explain the production, transmission, and change of culture in populations over time. 

The project is funded by Emil Aaltonen Foundation (2023–2026).