Religion, like any other domain of culture, is mediated through symbolic forms and communicative behaviors, which allow the coordination of group conduct in ritual and the representation of the divine or of tradition as an intersubjective reality. While many traditions hold out the promise of immediate access to the divine, or to some transcendent dimension of experience, such promises depend for their realization as well on the possibility of mediation, which is necessarily conducted through channels of communication and exchange, such as prayers or sacrifices. An understanding of such modes of semiosis is therefore necessary even and especially when mediation is denied by a tradition in the name of the 'ineffability" of the deity or of mystical experience.
This volume models and promotes an interdisciplinary dialogue and cross-cultural perspective on these issues by asking prominent semioticians, historians of religion and of art, linguists, sociologists of religion, and philosophers of law to reflect from a semiotic perspective on the topic of mediation and immediacy in religious traditions.
Massimo Leone, University of Turin, Italy and
Robert A. Yelle, University of Munich, Germany.