Until several thousand years ago, religious traditions were transmitted through oral, visual, and ritual practices rather than textual practices. However, over recent millennia the major world religions have transmitted their primary meanings via the written word. “Texts” in their original version or in translation have become an essential channel through which religions and belief systems transmit their core ideas. At the same time, these foundational texts have generated other religious and non-religious texts that have fulfilled the function of supplementing and differentiating religious traditions. Next to the founding texts, these complementary texts have provided the basis for specific religious models and practices. This year’s conference calls on researchers to shed light on understandings of the role of religious representational practices in broad historical context, the influence of communicative paradigms, and the social implications for this ideational flow of belief.
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