Zygon: Journal of Religion & Science

March 1986 Editorial

[Zygon, vol. 21, no. 1 (March 1986).]
© 1986 by the Joint Publication Board of Zygon. ISSN: 0591-2385
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.1986.tb00730.x

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Edith Turner describes, in the pages following this, the striking impact made by Victor Turner on 12 November 1982, when he gave his keynote address at the Symposium on Ritual and Human Adaptation in Hyde Park Chicago. The symposium was sponsored by the Institute on Religion in an Age of Science (IRAS) in association with the Center for Advanced Study in Religion and Science, the Chicago Theological Seminary, the Disciples of Christ Divinity House, and the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago. Turner’s address, entitled “Body, Brain, and Culture,” became the lead article in the Zygon publication of that symposium’s papers (see vol. 18, no. 3 [September 1983]).

On the one hand, the address marked an almost breathtaking new direction for Turner as he pointed the direction for integrating biogenetic data into his previously published work, which was almost exclusively oriented upon social-cultural theories. On the other hand, quite besides his own personal journey, in the address he elaborated a set of ideas that were engaging on their own terms. His paper focused on the range of issues evoked by his question whether “creative processes result from coadaptation, perhaps in the ritual process itself, of genetic and cultural information.”

After the 1982 symposium Turner immediately suggested that a second meeting be convened to carry further what was begun. He agreed to chair the event, Philip Hefner assisting as cochair, with a staunch committee formed by Robert Moore (who was instrumental in shaping the 1982 symposium), David Breed, Eugene d’Aquili, and Solomon Katz. The papers in this and the next issue of Zygon represent the follow-up symposium, “Recent Discoveries in Neurobiology—Do They Matter for Religion, the Social Sciences, and the Humanities?” which was held 28 July-4 August 1984 on Star Island, New Hampshire, at the Thirty-first Annual Summer Conference of IRAS.

Turner’s question, whether “creative processes result from coadaptation, perhaps in the ritual process itself, of genetic and cultural information,” can serve as a leading thread that binds all these papers together and suggests their significance. These issues of Zygon are dedicated to Victor Turner. Let this writer add his own word: not only was the man great, he was a joy to us all.

Philip Hefner



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