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7. A Chain of Interpretation or a Semiotic Cathedral?

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Chapter Summary

Heikki Rӓisӓnen's views have had a great impact on Gerd Theissen who, in his The Religion of the Earliest Churches: Creating a Symbolic World, adopts similar starting points for his explanation of early theology. In the detailed application of his approach, however, he does not quite follow Rӓisӓnen's lead in distancing himself from dogmatic tradition. Theissen remains unique in present scholarship because he is the only one who has attempted to apply the Wredean approach to postmodern semiotics. Theissen's final aspiration differs from that of Rӓisӓnen. Theissen has used semiotics in order to be able to present the principles of Christian faith, the grammar, in a trustworthy way. He has described primitive Christian religion as a sign system which the first Christians constructed on the basis of Jewish religion. They built a semiotic cathedral out of a narrative, ritual and ethical materials, and a world of signs.

Keywords: Christian religion; Gerd Theissen; Heikki Rӓisӓnen; Jewish religion; postmodern semiotics; Semiotic Cathedral



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