Religiöse Rede zwischen Lebenswelt und öffentlichem Diskurs

Eine Kritik an Habermas’ sprachpragmatischer Disziplinierung der Religion

Rebekka A. Klein


The article argues that the rhetorical heritage of Christian religion is being neglected today. This is due to the engagement of Christian theology with contemporary philosophical theories of language and communication. A paradigmatic case for this neglect is Jürgen Habermas’ »Theory of Communicative Action« and its prominent reception in twentieth century Protestant homiletics (G. Otto etc.). Following the argument of Thomas Erne, the article develops the view that Habermas’ idea of communicative reason violates the intimate relationship of religion with ordinary life which is essential for the continuation of its symbolic form. In contrast to rhetorical reason, the idea of discourse ethics replaces the narrative and metaphorical forms of religious speech by conceptual terms. Thus, it turns out to be an instrument of disciplining the impact and profundity of this speech rather than being its preserver, as Habermas claims. This is also shown to be true concerning Habermas’ recent ›turn to religion‹ and his idea of religion as a moral supplement for contemporary secular reason.

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