Following the heyday of Levi-Straussian structuralism in the 1970s-80s, little attention has been paid by scholars of religion to semiotics. Semiotics of Religion reassesses key semiotic theories in the light of religious data. Yelle examines the semiotics of religion from structural and historical perspectives, drawing on Peircean linguistic anthropology, Jakobsonian poetics, comparative religion and several theological traditions. This book pays particular attention to the transformation of religious symbolism under modernization and the rise of a culture of the printed book. Among the topics addressed are:
- ritual repetition and the poetics of ritual performance
- magic and the belief in a natural (iconic) language
- Protestant literalism and iconoclasm
- disenchantment and secularization
- Holiness, arbitrariness, and agency
Building from the legacy of structuralism while interrogating several key doctrines of that movement, Semiotics of Religion both introduces the field to a new generation and charts a course for future research.
Robert A. Yelle is Assistant Professor at the Department of History and the Helen Hardin Honors Program, University of Memphis, USA.
1. Introduction \ 2. Distinctive Features of Religious Symbolism and Language \ 3. Natural and Artificial Languages \ 4. The Semiotics of Ritual Form \ 5. The Attack on Semiotic Form \ 6. Protestant Literalism and Print Culture \ 7. Signs of Salvation \ Bibliography \ Index