The End of the Soul: Scientific Modernity, Atheism, and Anthropology in France

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Columbia University Press, 2003 - Religion - 402 pages
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"On October 19, 1876 a group of leading French citizens, both men and women included, joined together to form an unusual group, The Society of Mutual Autopsy, with the aim of proving that souls do not exist. The idea was that, after death, they would dissect one another and (hopefully) show a direct relationship between brain shapes and sizes and the character, abilities and intelligence of individuals. This strange scientific pact, and indeed what we have come to think of as anthropology, which the group's members helped to develop, had its genesis in aggressive, evangelical atheism. Jennifer Hecht's study of science and atheism in France in late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries shows that anthropology grew in the context of an impassioned struggle between the forces of tradition, especially the Catholic faith, and those of a more freethinking modernism, one that became a secular religon for many. Among the adherents of this new faith were the novelist Emile Zola, the great statesman Leon Gambetta, the American birth control advocate Margaret Sanger, and Arthur Conan Doyle, whose Sherlock Holmes embodied the triumph of ratiocination over credulity." -- Book cover.

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The end of the soul: scientific modernity, atheism, and anthropology in France

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Poet and history professor Hecht (Nassau Community Coll.; The Next Ancient World) offers a solid contribution to the crowded story of anticlericalism in France, leading up to the separation of church ... Read full review

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Well if you are an atheist, thats Ok. I am of the opinion that even if you are mistaken that you will be well taken care of anyway as long as you are a good person. If you have a chance perhaps you might want to take a look at my web site. Best Wishes, Michael Hecht ( ) 

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About the author (2003)

Elizabeth A. Castelli is associate professor of religion at Barnard College at Columbia University. She is the author of Imitating Paul: A Discourse of Power, coauthor of The Postmodern Bible, and editor of several books, including Women, Gender, and Religion: A Reader. She serves on the editorial board of the Journal of the American Academy of Religion and is the editor of a new journal, Postscripts: Sacred Texts and Contemporary Worlds. In 2003 and 2004 she was the senior research scholar at the Center for Religion and Media at New York University.

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