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Religion as Communication. God’s Talk

A New Book by Enzo Pace, Sociology and Sociology of Religion, University of Padova, Italy

Why do Gods persist in contemporary society? Religious revival and vitality all over the world contradict the vision of continuing declining of belief. This linear process of eclipse of the sacred in modern society has been proved wrong. Religion indeed is an expert system competent in ultimate meanings of human being and social order.

Enzo Pace argues that religion persists as a symbol because of its intrinsic power of communication, in its will to wield the power to dominate the event of death, and to build a bridge between the visible and the invisible. The crucial passage from living word to holy scripture is a fundamental device in the construction of a system of religious belief. This book provides an insight on a new approach to religious studies, drawing from systems theory to consider religion as a means of communication, and offering a critical alternative to the secularization theory to explain why religion persists in modernity.

Contents: Introduction; Religion as communication; Religion and sense; From capacity of improvisation to belief system; Spirit and order; Conclusion; Bibliography; Index.

About the Author: Enzo Pace is Professor of Sociology and Sociology of Religion University of Padova, and Head of the Department of Sociology and Director of the Interdepartmental Centre for the Intercultural Studies. He is a member of the following scientific boards: Interdepartmental Centre on Human Rights of Padova University; Observatoire de Sociologie de la Religion, University of Lausanne; Agence National de la Recherche (CNRS-France); Past-President of International Society for the Sociology of Religion (ISSR/SISR); Visiting Professor at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Science Sociales (EHESS-Paris) in 1996-2000. He co-edits the Annual Review of the Sociology of Religion (Brill, Leiden-Boston); Member of the Editorial Committee of: Archives de Sciences Sociales des Religions; Social Compass; Horizontes Anthropologicos; Religioni e Società.

Reviews: ‘Enzo Pace’s book is ambitious, original and timely. Steering clear of arid debates about ‘the decline of religion’ and ‘the return of religion’, it charts new theoretical territory by focusing on religions as systems of communication which respond creatively to their environments. A fresh comparative sociology of religion is the impressive result.’

James A. Beckford, University of Warwick, UK

‘Rather than impose a non-religious framework, Professor Pace, as a good sociologist, notes that religions operate in systems of historically layered, contested, beliefs. Belief, alternative belief, and even non-belief find their coherence in the long-standing religious syntax of a given society. He approaches this as a substructure of communication, and in the process unfolds a perspective that defies trivialization. It is simply profound.’

Anthony J. Blasi, Tennessee State University, USA