Building blocks of religion: Music, dance, songs and stories

Keywords: society; religion; Bauplan; building blocks; music; dance; songs; stories; historical consciousness; sociological consciousness


Socio-anthropological studies support the conviction that religion originated during the hunter-gatherer phase of Homo sapiens’ existence. This phase is dated between 50 000 and 15 000 years ago. The hunter-gatherer religion evolved into agricultural religion when small communities settled down and started practising agriculture around 10 000 years ago. This religion then evolved into city-state religion and the city-state religion eventually evolved into imperial religion. Looking at these four types of religion, it is possible to identify a few ‘building blocks’ which assisted the different societies in developing their religion, or better, for religion to evolve in tandem with the changes in society. It is argued that the Bauplan of the religions changed as the societies changed although the building blocks remained more or less the same. Music, dance, songs and stories are identified as the important building blocks of religion. An evolutionary perspective informs the historical overview of research concerning religion.

Contribution: Although the Bauplan of religions change when societies change, the building blocks remain the same. Music, dance, songs and stories are identified as important building blocks of religions. It is especially stories that contribute to the formation of a new religion and to the coherence of the new society.


Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 2072-8050
print ISSN: 0259-9422