Date of Award


Document Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name


Organizational Unit

College of Arts Humanities and Social Sciences

First Advisor

Carl Raschke, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Sandra Dixon

Third Advisor

Jere Surber


Culture, Language, Religion, Semantic, Semiotic, Theory


The term `God' may be understood as the desire for the complete epistemological condition of thought; language expresses this condition in statements of `meaning.' `Religion' expresses this desire in texts and ritual practice which may be examined by in academic study; however, because the `third term' of religio is understood as the condition of being `bounded to or by,' the study of religion is itself bounded to or by this desire for the completion of thought. This desire cannot be understood as an `alterity' of thought but is rather the internal native or `alter-native' condition of thought itself. Religions are the native residences of this desire, and claim to know the complete condition; however, alter-natively, because thought cannot completely restrict but rather remains itself an expression of the condition, human thought and its culture are open to an unrestricted examination of the expressions of the condition. Each religion expresses itself as a `singularity' of this universal condition of thought; however, because of the native factors in the epistemological condition, specifically, that thought desires but cannot fully express or know the condition, no particular religion can claim hegemony to the expression of the condition: `God' as such is the full expression of thought, yet by the definition of the terms of thought, its expression remains fully its alter-native exception of thought.

The thesis first considers the possibility of theory itself through a brief examination of etymological gaps and windows evident in its expression. Next, we examine a possible working theory for the study of religion and the epistemological implications arising from its expression. Thirdly, as a result of these two courses, we examine the semantic and semiotic conditions of what can be `called' `meaning.' The thesis concludes with proposed epistemological strategies for the study of culture and religion, including what are termed the eccentric semantic and semiotic loops, the potentiation of meaning in the instantiation and disinstantiation of language figurations, singularity in meaning expressions, and the unique singularity of religious meaning in what may be termed the "exceptional inception" of thought.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Rights Holder

Gary S. Bedford


Received from ProQuest

File Format




File Size

126 p.


Philosophy of Religion, Religion