The Languages of Religion: Exploring the Politics of the Sacred, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

The Languages of Religion

Exploring the Politics of the Sacred, 1st Edition

Edited by Sipra Mukherjee

Routledge India

248 pages | 7 B/W Illus.

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This book analyses the power that religion wields upon the minds of individuals and communities and explores the predominance of language in the actual practice of religion. Through an investigation of the diverse forms of religious language available — oral traditions, sacred texts, evangelical prose, and national rhetoric used by ‘faith-insiders’ such as missionaries, priests, or religious leaders who play the communicator’s role between the sacred and the secular — the chapters in the volume reveal the dependence of religion upon language, demonstrating how religion draws strength from a past that is embedded in narratives, infusing the ‘sacred’ language with political power.

The book combines broad theoretical and normative reflections in contexts of original, detailed and closely examined empirical case studies. Drawing upon resources across disciplines, the book will be of interest to scholars of religion and religious studies, linguistics, politics, cultural studies, history, sociology, and social anthropology.

Table of Contents


Sipra Mukherjee


  1. Cultures of Sound: Lineages and Languages of Sutra Recitation in Goshirakawa’s Japan
  2. Charlotte Eubanks


  3. Kaqchikel Spirituality in the shade of the Catholic Doctrine
  4. Andreas Koechert and Barbara Pfeiler


  5. Words Taken for Wonders: Conversion and Religious Authority among the Dalits of Colonial Chhattisgarh
  6. Chad Bauman


  7. Voices, Texts and Contexts in Filipino Christianity
  8. Jose Mario C. Francisco


  9. The Translations of Buddhism, from Asia to the West: Shifting Languages, Adaptive Logics, Acculturations
  10. Lionel Obadia


  11. A Language 'Clearly Understanded of the People': The Construction of an Anglo-Catholic Linguistic Identity 1850–2015
  12. Amanda Haste


  13. Biblical Semiotics: The Language of Survival
  14. Gilad Elbom


  15. The Būdshīshiyya’s Tower of Babel: Cultural Diversity in a Transnational Sufi Order
  16. Marta Dominguez Diaz


  17. Religion for Nation? Language Policy of the Churches in the Context of the Belarusian Nation-Building
  18. Nelly Bekus


  19. The Paradox of the Term ‘Democracy’ in Arabic Discourse on the Islamic Movements
  20. Kerith Miller


  21. Reclaiming the Sacred: Bengali Muslim Community’s Quest for a Jatiya Identity

Epsita Halder

About the Editor

Sipra Mukherjee is Professor in the Department of English, West Bengal State University, India. Her research interests are religion, caste, and power. Her publications include Interrogating My Chandal Life: An Autobiography of a Dalit (translation of Manoranjan Byapari’s Itibritte Chandal Jeeban, 2018), Modern English Literature, 1890–1960 (2016), Special Issue on Religion and Language, International Journal of the Sociology of Language (edited, 2013), and The Calcutta Mosaic: Minority Communities of Calcutta (co-edited, 2009).

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
RELIGION / General
RELIGION / Buddhism / General (see also PHILOSOPHY / Buddhist)
RELIGION / Comparative Religion
RELIGION / Hinduism / General
RELIGION / Islam / General
RELIGION / Philosophy
RELIGION / Christianity / General
RELIGION / Religion, Politics & State
RELIGION / Religious Intolerance, Persecution & Conflict
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Regional Studies