And Mankind Created the Gods

A Graphic Novel Adaptation of Pascal Boyer’s Religion Explained

Joseph Béhé, Foreword by Pascal Boyer, and translated by Edward Gauvin

“[A] detailed and convincing work of graphic scholarship.”


368 pages
7.48" × 10.12"

Why does religion exist?

Why do people believe?

Do all religions start with the same basic idea?

These are some of the most fundamental and enduring questions we have about the mysteries of religion, and they may well hold the key to humankind’s future on this earth.

In this adaptation of Pascal Boyer’s classic work exploring these concepts, Religion Explained, artist Joseph Béhé harnesses the power of comics to provide clear answers to the basic questions about why religion exists and why people believe.

A distinguished scholar, Boyer drew from research in cognitive science, anthropology, psychology, and evolutionary biology to explore why religion exists and why the strength of human beliefs can drive us to be selfless sometimes and, at other times, to be fanatical and intolerant. His erudite book is rich with insight into the endless jumble of ideas that inform religious beliefs and practices across cultures. With detailed, illustrative drawings and carefully adapted prose, Béhé’s graphic novel brings a new perspective to Boyer’s work.

An eminently accessible approach to the notoriously thorny topics of belief, cognition, humanity, and religion, And Mankind Created the Gods is a thoughtful, inspiring graphic novel that will further and broaden the conversation with which Boyer’s book engages.

“[A] detailed and convincing work of graphic scholarship.”
“A terrific book that brings to life, in pictures, how scientific curiosity finds out why people invented gods and why so many still cling to them.”
“Béhé portrays a consistently engaging conversation, masterfully distilling Boyer on why religions arise, persist, and compel and punctuating it with arresting images of the splendor and diversity of things religious.”

Joseph Béhé has illustrated some twenty comic books, and he cowrites graphic novels with Amandine Laprun and Erwann Surcouf. The creative projects he has been involved in include Péché mortel, La péniche bleue, Pour l’amour de l’art, and Double Je.

Pascal Boyer is Professor of Sociocultural Anthropology and Psychology and Henry Luce Professor of Collective and Individual Memory at Washington University in St. Louis. He is the author of several books, including most recently Minds Make Societies: How Cognition Explains the World Humans Create.