Religious language: Towards a framework for religious language theory

TitleReligious language: Towards a framework for religious language theory
Publication TypeMiscellaneous
Year of Publication2008
AuthorsTeusner, P

George Lindbeck (1984: 39) writes that from a cultural-linguistic point of view, religious change is not understood as emerging from new religious experiences. It is rather seen as coming out of changing situations within a cultural-linguistic system. When a certain way of ordering or explaining the religious character of a cultural group creates anomalies in its application to new contexts (eg. new media, new places and times of reception), new concepts, symbols and ideas are discovered that solve the anomalies. I want to see how well this theory fits when we examine the differences in the language employed to communicate religious ideas in different contexts, and how this may impact on the way audiences receive and interpret the information to form a religious identity. The contexts I want to identify are: 1. Traditional mainstream Protestant communities 2. Evangelical Protestant communities (I know, I know: we could go to town trying to delineate between the two. I don't want to dwell on it, but will acknowledge that the definitions of such words, and the line drawn between them, are not clear, and both "mainstream" and "evangelical" streams exist in the same denomination) 3. Secular popular media (eg. film, TV shows - I'll just use a couple of examples) 4. Religious television, and 5. Religious web sites and accompanying discussion outlets Basically, I want to know what the conditions are that create new ways of talking about, interpreting and experiencing religion in these media spheres.