Complexity theory and the historical study of religion

navigating the transdisciplinary space between the Humanities and the Natural Sciences




Interdisciplinaridade, Metodologia, Humanidades Digitais


This article advocates for a set of recent transdisciplinary options for the History of Religion, combining methods from the Natural and Human Sciences, through a special focus on the study of so-called “complex systems”. We elucidate their theoretical bases and limitations while assuming a pragmatic positioning between a defense of the historical-scientific study of religion and the promotion of groundbreaking methodological outlooks emerging from the Digital Humanities. From this background, throughout the text, we argue for a complementation of historiographical “close reading” with both “distant reading” techniques and interdisciplinary research, using computer-based methods and a diversity of formal modeling techniques. In short, we conclude that such methods offer novel ways for data representation and are best understood not only as creative schemes for solving issues in historiography, but also as a springboard for new inquiries arising from the transdisciplinarity between the Humanities and the Natural Sciences.


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Biografia do Autor

Thales Silva, Universidade Federal de Juiz de Fora

Bacharel em História e Especialista em Antropologia pela Faculdade de Filosofia e Ciências Humanas da UFMG.

Mestrado e Doutorando em Ciência da Religião pelo Instituto de Ciências Humanas da UFJF.

Candidato a doutoramento em História Social pela Faculdade de Filosofia, Letras e Ciências Humanas da USP.

Membro do Projeto Psicologia da Religião e do Núcleo de Estudos Religião e Psicologia (NERELPSI), Linha de Pesquisa Abordagens Filosóficas e Psicológicas da Religião, do Programa de Pós-graduação em Ciência da Religião da UFJF.

Membro associado ao Grupo de Estudos de Ciência Cognitiva da Religião, Laboratório de Estudos Psicossociais, do Instituto de Psicologia da USP.


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Como Citar

SILVA, T. Complexity theory and the historical study of religion: navigating the transdisciplinary space between the Humanities and the Natural Sciences. História da Historiografia: International Journal of Theory and History of Historiography, Ouro Preto, v. 14, n. 36, p. 167–196, 2021. DOI: 10.15848/hh.v14i36.1669. Disponível em: Acesso em: 20 set. 2021.



Dossiê: História como (In)disciplina