Conjuring Ignorance, Sustaining Belief

Jack David Eller

Eller holds a PhD in anthropology and has conducted fieldwork on religion and religious change among Australian Aboriginals. His other areas of interest include ethnic and religious violence, and he is the author of several books on cultural anthropology, anthropology of religion, psychological anthropology, and atheism/secularism.

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Article Information:

Author: Jack David Eller

Title: "Agnomancy: Conjuring Ignorance, Sustaining Belief"

Journal: Socio-Historical Examination of Religion and Ministry

Journal Issue: Volume 2, Number 1

Date: Spring 2020

Pages: 150-80



Recent years have seen an increased interest in the construction and exploitation of ignorance, with the establishment of a field of agnotology (ignorance studies). This effort has focused almost exclusively on governments and corporations, though little or none on religion. After exploring work in agnotology and introducing the concept of agnomancy (the creation or conjuring of ignorance), the present article offers a preliminary application of these perspectives to religion, investigating what light agnotology sheds on religion and when and for what reasons religion engages in agnomancy.


Keywords: Agnomancy, Agnotology, Ignorance Studies, Religion, Religious Faith, Philosophy of Religion, Epistemology, Knowledge, Cognitive Faculties, Confirmation Bias

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(footnote) Jack David Eller, “Agnomancy: Conjuring Ignorance, Sustaining Belief,” Socio-Historical Examination of Religion and Ministry 2, no. 1 (Spring 2020): 150‒80,

(bibliography) Eller, Jack David. “Agnomancy: Conjuring Ignorance, Sustaining Belief.” Socio-Historical Examination of Religion and Ministry 2, no. 1 (Spring 2020): 150‒80.


Eller, Jack David. “Agnomancy: Conjuring Ignorance, Sustaining Belief.” Socio-Historical Examination of Religion and Ministry, vol. 2, no. 1, Spring 2020,, pp. 150‒80.


Eller, J. D. (2020). Agnomancy: Conjuring Ignorance, Sustaining Belief. Socio-Historical Examination of Religion and Ministry, 2(1), 150‒80. Retrieved from

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