Search this journal:     Advanced search
Original Research

Locating nature and culture: Pan-Homo culture and theological primatology

Nancy R. Howell

Verbum et Ecclesia; Vol 36, No 3 (2015), 9 pages. doi: 10.4102/ve.v36i3.1440

Submitted: 25 February 2015
Published:  19 August 2015


Studies of chimpanzee and bonobo social and learning behaviours, as well as diverse explorations of language abilities in primates, suggest that the attribution of ‘culture’ to primates other than humans is appropriate. The underestimation of primate cultural and cognitive characteristics leads to minimising the evolutionary relationship of humans and other primates. Consequently my claim in this reflection is about the importance of primate studies for the enhancement of Christian thought, with the specific observation that the bifurcation of nature and culture may be an unsustainable feature of any world view, which includes extraordinary status for humans (at least, some humans) as a key presupposition.

Intradisciplinary and/or interdisciplinary implications: The scientific literature concerning primate studies is typically ignored by Christian theology. Reaping the benefits of dialogue between science and religion, Christian thought must engage and respond to the depth of primate language, social, and cultural skills in order to better interpret the relationship of nature and culture.

Full Text:  |  HTML  |  EPUB  |  XML  |  PDF (259KB)

Author affiliations

Nancy R. Howell, Saint Paul School of Theology, Overland Park, Kansas, United States; Department of Dogmatics and Christian Ethics, University of Pretoria, South Africa



Total abstract views: 1490
Total article views: 2703


No related citations found

Comments on this article

Before posting your comment, please read our policy.
Post a Comment (Login required)

ISSN: 1609-9982 (print) | ISSN: 2074-7705 (online)

Connect on: Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn and YouTube

Subscribe to our newsletter

All articles published in this journal are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) license, unless otherwise stated.

Website design & content: ©2018 AOSIS (Pty) Ltd. All rights reserved. No unauthorised duplication allowed.

AOSIS Publishing | Empowering Africa through access to knowledge
Postnet Suite #110, Private Bag X19, Durbanville, South Africa, 7551
Tel: 086 1000 381 
Tel: +27 21 975 2602 
Fax: 086 5004 974

publishing(AT) replace (AT) with @

Please read the privacy statement.