The project

All denominational groups use language to control, keep and transmit knowledge in different ways. In the monotheistic revealed religions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam) language has an even more prominent role as the Word of God. According to the Bible, God instructs his people through Moses, Jesus Christ is the Word of God made flesh, and the Koran is also regarded as the Word of God that is transferred through the prophet. God’s Will and His Word have to be made known and enforced by His representatives, who base their legitimacy in the Word of God. This legitimacy needs to be constantly renewed and, thus, is often enough disputed. Not only direct competitors in the proclamation question who is the “right” God, the “real” prophet and which be the “right” language of God or of the proclamation. In the conflicts that result from these debates it is always the privilege of interpretation of reality and the implementation of a worldview that is fought for.

Since the Reformation there exists in Europe an institutionalized answer in the form of the Protestant Church with regard to the Catholic Church’s claim to the sole privilege of interpretation. This, however, did not yet have any significant influence on the world view of pre-modern Europe. It was only with secularisation that other authorities got a foothold next to the religious ones, which have put forward other interpretations of reality than the Christian worldview – a sign of Modernity. Now, however, the Christian churches find themselves confronted with Islam, who still claims to have the sole privilege of interpretation of reality. Even if Islam respects the other “book owning” religions, the conflict in Palestine and the Jewish-Islamic relations are serious enough for negative statements about Jews in the Koran to be taken out of their historical context and being reinterpreted. This conflicts, as well as further questions (such as e.g. the ‘Renaissance’ of religion) that are closely related to this topic, are the concerns of the domain of religion.

The starting point for the discussion will always be the observation and description of the manner in which knowledge is generated, stored, and distributed through language in denominational groups and their institutions. Synchronic analysis as well as historical cuts will be undertaken in order to try and show how reality is both interpreted and created through language through “semantic battles” within a denominational group, across groups and in the public sphere.