Cultural evolution meets early Christianity

The project Early Christianity in Cultural Evolution (ECCE) is a multidisciplinary undertaking which integrates knowledge of humanities and natural sciences in order to explain the spread of early Christian movement in evolutionary terms. Why did certain Christian communities thrive while others faded away? How did the early Christian community survive the competition against other religious groups? What caused the four canonical Gospels to become so widespread while many others fell into oblivion? How can we describe and explain the vast changes in the New Testament manuscript tradition? These are the questions to be tackled in this project. The goal is to break new ground in cultural evolutionary studies by combining up-to-date cultural evolutionary theorizing with detailed textual and cultural analyses in order to discover the possible selective advantage of early Christian groups and texts in their Jewish and Greco-Roman cultural context.