Thomas Luckmann 1 (Transl. by: Elizaveta Kostrova 2 , Ivan Zabaev 2 )
  • 1 Universität Konstanz, 78457 Konstanz, Germany
  • 2 St.Tikhon's Orthodox University, 23-5A Novokuznetskaya St, Moscow, 115184, Russian Federation

An Afterword to the German Edition of The Invisible Religion

2014, vol. 13, No. 1, pp. 139–154 [issue contents]

In the afterword to the third edition published more than twenty years after the initial publication of The Invisible Religion, Thomas Luckmann seeks to summarize and to clarify his position as described in his book. He argues against the idea of the decreasing importance of religion in modern society, and proposes a renewed understanding of religion that would not be confined to the intuitions of the Western world. Luckmann’s definition of religion is based on the notion of “transcendences”, which he divides into “small”, “middle”, and “great” categories. It is the experience of the “great” transcendence which leads everyday life away to another reality that plays a key role in the emergence of what is meant by religion. There is a certain order of signs that corresponds to the order of transcendences, and makes it possible to transfer the content of subjective experience of transcendence into intersubjective reality. Symbols appear to be a way of “great” transcendence appresentation, and ritual is considered as its implementation in a social action. By way of a specific set of communicative actions and with the use of symbolic and linguistic resources, subjective experience of transcendence is converted into an objective social structure, so that transcendence experiences become intersubjective and can now serve as a subject of discussion, modification and interpretation. In conclusion, Luckmann turns to the modern situation of religion, and characterizes it as the “privatization” of religion.

Citation: Luckmann T. (2014) Dopolnenie k tret'emu nemetskomu izdaniyu «Nevidimoy religii» [An Afterword to the German Edition of The Invisible Religion]. The Russian Sociological Review, vol. 13, no 1, pp. 139-154 (in Russian)
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