Stewart Guthrie, Professor Emeritus of Anthropology at Fordham University, received his Ph.D. from Yale University in 1976. His first book, A Japanese New Religion, (Michigan 1988) was based on fieldwork in a Japanese mountain hamlet. He began writing on cognitive and evolutionary aspects of religion with “A cognitive theory of religion” (Current Anthropology 1980), which held that religion can best be understood as systematized anthropomorphism. His Faces in the Clouds (Oxford 1993) extends that paper’s key arguments, which are now widely adopted in the cognitive science of religion.
In Stewart Guthrie’s interview with Thomas J. Coleman III for The Religious Studies Project, Guthrie begins by outlining what it means to ‘explain religion’. He defines anthropomorphism as “the attribution of human characteristics to nonhuman events” and gives an example of this as applied to auditory and visual phenomena throughout the interview.