This book explores the interrelation of literacy and religion as practiced by Western Christians in, first, historical contexts and, second, in one contemporary church setting. Using both a case study and a Foucauldian theoretical framework, the book provides a sustained analysis of the reciprocal discursive construction of literacy, religiosity and identity in one Seventh-day Adventist Church community of Northern Australia. Critical linguistic and discourse analytic theory is used to disclose processes of theological (church), familial (home) and educational (school) normalisation of community members into regulated ways of hearing and speaking, reading and writing, being and believing. Detailed analyses of spoken and written texts taken from institutional and local community settings show how textual religion is an exemplary technology of the self, a politics constituted by canonical texts, interpretive norms, textual practices, ritualised events and sociopolitical protocols that, ultimately, are turned in upon the self.
The purpose of these analyses is to show how, across denominational difference in belief (tradition) and practice, particular versions of self and society are constructed through economies of truth from text that constrain what can and cannot be articulated and enacted by believers.
1. List of Figures and Tables; 2. Preface; 3. 1. Literacy and Religion as Social Discursive Practices; 4. 2. Holy Word and Holy Writ: Literacy and Christianity in History; 5. 3. The Seventh-day Adventist Church: Historical and Institutional Background; 6. 4. Riverside Seventh-day Adventist Church: A Contextual Description; 7. 5. The Sabbath: Theological Construction of the Adventist Literate; 8. 6. The Inner Circle: Familial Construction of the Adventist Literate; 9. 7. School and Scripture: Educational Construction of the Adventist Literate; 10. 8. Meditation and Mediation: The Politics of Religious Literacies; 11. Appendices; 12. References; 13. Author Index; 14. Subject Index