• Maureen P. Heath


This book argues that the idea of individuality is historically evolved and dependent on the Christian worldview for its genesis. This introductory chapter summarizes the broad debate on what we mean by a “self.” Individual identity in the modern era is based on consciousness, a phenomenon we still cannot explain. Christianity sees the inner-self as unique and not reducible to a biological process of the body. The problem in analyzing the self is that it does not follow the rules that generally hold true for most objects of study, and most notably, it cannot be studied outside of what it means for us. The Christian idea of an individual assumes a moral agency that has had a profound effect on the concept of individualism and its many nuanced meanings. The advent of individualism was not a sudden innovation of the Renaissance but a long evolution with characteristic traits that can be mapped using a framework of a cultural genome. Using this framework will allow us to examine selected authors and writings demonstrative of specific cultural ideas or memes to show how they adapted and evolved over time.

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© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Maureen P. Heath
    • 1
  1. 1.FairfaxUSA

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