Malevich Tatiana; Kolkunova Ksenia; Kozhevnikov Denis

Orthodox representations of God and implicit anthropomorphic reasoning

Kolkunova Ksenia, Malevich Tatiana, Kozhevnikov Denis (2017) "Orthodox representations of God and implicit anthropomorphic reasoning ", Vestnik Pravoslavnogo Sviato-Tikhonovskogo gumanitarnogo universiteta. Seriia I : Bogoslovie. Filosofiia. Religiovedenie, 2017, vol. 74, pp. 67-90 (in Russian).

DOI of the paper: 10.15382/sturI201774.67-90


The phenomenon of theological incorrectness is primarily the result of the coexistence of two parallel levels of religious representations constituting a continuum of cognitive complexity. This article presents results of the replication experiment based on the classical study by J. L. Barrett and F. Keil (1996) aimed at diff erentiating levels of implicit anthropomorphic and explicit non-anthropomorphic reasoning about God. The data which were obtained in the experiment and based on the Russian Orthodox sample of Theology students have confi rmed the cross-cultural universality and stability of the phenomenon of theological incorrectness described by J. L. Barrett and now widely accepted in the cognitive religious science. In a real-thinking mode aimed at rapid solutions to problems, complicated and cognitively cumbersome theological concepts do undergo systematic deformation and optimisation and acquire anthropomorphic properties corresponding to our default ontological assumptions. Such a tacit deformation seems to be independent from theological representations and occurs even in the presence of explicitly held non-anthropomorphic concepts of God.


anthropomorphism, religious agents, religious representations, cognitive religious science, psychology of religion, cognitive schemes, cognitive biases


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Information about the author

Malevich Tatiana

Academic Degree: Candidate of Sciences* in Philosophy;
Place of work: independent researcher;
ORCID: 0000-0003-3928-6248;
Email: t.v.malevich@gmail.com.

*According to the International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED) 2011, the degree of Candidate of Sciences (Cand.Sc.) belongs to ISCED level 8 — "doctoral or equivalent", together with PhD, DPhil, D.Lit, D.Sc, LL.D, Doctorate or similar.

Kolkunova Ksenia

Academic Degree: Candidate of Sciences* in Philosophy;
Place of work: St. Tikhon’s Orthodox University for the Humanities; 6/1 Likhov pereulok, Moscow 127051, Russian Federation;
Post: Senior Lecturer;
ORCID: 0000-0003-4655-6488;
Email: ksenia.kolkunova@gmail.com.

*According to the International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED) 2011, the degree of Candidate of Sciences (Cand.Sc.) belongs to ISCED level 8 — "doctoral or equivalent", together with PhD, DPhil, D.Lit, D.Sc, LL.D, Doctorate or similar.

Kozhevnikov Denis

Place of work: independent researcher;
ORCID: 0000-0003-0602-2908;
Email: coffeegirl@inbox.ru.


The article is written within the framework of the project № 14-18-0377 "Modern Western psychology of religion: adaptation to the Russian context" supported by Russian Science Foundation