Religion as a Game of Mind

Religion as a Game of Mind

David, D (Dorin David)

First presented at the International Scientific Conference Globalization, Intercultural Dialogue and National Identity, 28-29 May 2015, Tg. Mures, Romania, and published with the title: Religion as a Game of Mind: Ioan P. Culianu’s Perspective, an Open Door for Intercultural Dialogue, in Iulian Boldea (Ed.). 2015. Debates on Globalization. Approaching National Identity through Intercultural Dialogue, Studies and Articles. Section: History and Cultural Mentalities, Tg. Mures: “ARHIPELAG XXI” Press, 587-594.


Ioan Petru Culianu (1950-1991) was a Romanian-born scholar. He graduated Letters in Romania (University of Bucharest), and Religious Studies in Italy (Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore in Milan), finished his PhD in France (Université Paris-Sorbonne, Paris IV), worked in the Netherlands (Rijksuniversiteit Groningen) and finally in the United States of America (University of Chicago Divinity School). Starting as a historical-approach specialist in Gnosticism and Renaissance Magic, Culianu moved in his last years toward a cognitive approach of religion, to conclude in his last book, The Tree of Gnosis (first published in 1992) that religion can be described as a game of mind.
This paper will delineate from many of Culianu’s finished articles and books, and from some projects he never had the chance to finish, what he understands by “religion as a game of mind”, and what are some possible outcomes of such a viewpoint. One of the most important achievable results is the door for a peaceful intercultural dialogue that it opens.

Keywords: Ioan Petru Culianu, Religion, mind game, intercultural dialogue

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Published by dorin

Full time husband and father; full time writer; full time artist (#fineartphotography). And in the free time, I like to travel, to read and to learn new stuff.

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