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date: 18 August 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Popular definitions of religious literacy don’t capture the reality of lived religion in a plural age. Using language as a metaphor for religion, this chapter differentiates between religious fluency among co-religionists and the ability to read and interpret the vocabulary of the “language” of the religious other. Whereas advocates for biblical literacy and world religions courses often reinforce an essentialist understanding of religion that presents only the “standard” version of a language, this chapter suggests an alternative 3B Framework that encourages students to consider how the interrelationship of belief, behavior, and belonging creates religious “dialects.” A pedagogy built around the 3B Framework encourages students to compare and contrast the construction of religious languages in a linguistic mode, analyzing the importance of belief, behavior, and belonging for individuals or communities. This framework opens possibilities for inter-religious dialogue between “multilingual linguists” who can engage the most meaningful aspects of interlocutors’ religious identity.

Keywords: lived religion, religious literacy, biblical literacy, world religions, belief, behavior, belonging, dialogue, religious identity

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