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The Use of Physical Symbols to Transmit Culture in Religious Schools: A Comparison of Adventist and Catholic Schools in America

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image of Journal of Empirical Theology

This is a report of research conducted in the United States to study how religious schools transmit their religious culture through religious symbols. It compares the situation of Catholic and Seventh-day Adventist schools. Principals of ten high schools and ten elementary schools in each system were interviewed using a protocol developed for the study. The results indicated that the most dominant symbols in the Catholic schools were the crucifix and a statue or picture of the Blessed Mother while the most frequent symbol in the Adventist schools was a picture of Christ. While the Adventist schools had more symbolism than we expected at the outset of the research we found that the Catholic schools were much more intentional about the use of symbolism.


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