The Problem of Religious Discourse: Discourse of Religion or Discourse about Religion?

Tyumen State University Herald. Humanities Research. Humanitates


Vesntik TSU. Philosophy. 2013

The Problem of Religious Discourse: Discourse of Religion or Discourse about Religion?

About the author:

Ekaterina V. Novokreshchennykh,


This article analyzes the problem of the religious discourse from the
semiotic standpoint. The author stresses the difference of the religious discourse from
the theological discourse, the former appearing a broader notion: the elements of the
religious discourse can occur in belles-lettres as well as in journalism and academic texts.
Moreover, the religious discourse bears a double character as it includes the discourse
of religion (a “from within” discourse, i.e. practices, or ´pratiques´) and the discourse
about religion (an “outside” discourse, excluding ´pratiques´). More complicated seems
to be a cross-border discursive domain where a bearer of discourse has to combine both
views, both sides of the discourse (from within and from outside). As an example may
serve, particularly, the so called ‘religious philology’ — a trend in post-Soviet literary
studies supposing that a researcher should not rest upon his religious views as an
ethical pillar only, but also as a conceptual and methodological one. This trend shows
its defect in attempting to replace a scrupulous analysis of texts by their ideological
“correction”. As a conclusion, we stress the importance of the semiotically organized
approach to the study of the religious discourse, practices and objects. This approach
allows a number of ways of interpretation. The work by Jean-Marie Floch (1947-2001)
of the Semiotic School of Paris “Lecture de la Trinité d’Andrei Roublev” is described
as an example of this approach.


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