Volkhard Krech

in The Oxford Handbook of the Study of Religion

Published in print November 2016 | ISBN: 9780198729570
Published online June 2017 | e-ISBN: 9780191796449 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks


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This chapter advocates applying a communication theoretical model to the study of religion. This proceeds by observing the procedure of religious communication, the ways in which this communication reflects upon and describes itself, and the means by which it sets itself apart from other kinds of communication. While there is no such thing as religion per se, the specific feature of religious communication consists in ultimately coping with contingency on the basis of the distinction between immanence and transcendence. Religious semantics and the institutional framework of religious communication should be analytically distinguished and synthetically related to each other. Inner and outer boundaries of religious communication should also be distinguished. Religious communication constitutes a self-referential societal system and also differentiates itself (and is distinguished) from other forms of communication such as politics, economics, science, and the arts. Differentiation is the basis for interaction between various forms of communication including religion.

Keywords: communication; immanence/transcendence; religious communication; sacralization; semantics; semiotics; systems theory

Article.  6248 words. 

Subjects: Religion

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