Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Comparative Religion

First Advisor

Dr. Rudolph J. Siebert


Religion is a system of structural ideas that involve the natural ability of the mind to engage itself into the process of unlimited semiosis which can be defined as an existential openness of one's consciousness to the universe as a system. This primary religious consciousness becomes limited by language, symbolic, and cultural constraints. The religious semiotic space is a sub-cultural system open to culturally and cross-culturally encoded idioms and concepts. These cultural potentials are interpreted and settled by the religious exegesis expressed in the behavioral patterns of the symbolic actions that reflect a specific worldview of the closed community controlled by institutional authority. In spite of the religious exclusive position in the cultural space, almost every religiousworldview offers elements of ethical and aesthetical universalism, which religious potentials are seeds for the secularization processes of the religious.

This dissertation offers a Semiotic Theory of Religion, explaining concepts such as dynamic signs, signification process, and unlimited semiosis developed inthe semiotics of Charles Sanders Peirce, Umberto Eco, Yuri Lotman, and the religious semantics of Jürgen Habermas.

Habermas thinks that religion still has semantic potentials that should be rescued. The ethical aspect of religion concentrates on the ideals of universal solidarity, compassion, and peace. These are the foundational values of the autonomous religious consciousness that should transform its individual ethos into the objective reality of socio-economic and political norms.

Yuri Lotman's semiotic theory of culture is functional in the examination of religious pluralism and examines the diachronic continuum, explaining a vicious struggle for the preservation of the semiotic space, which emerges as the dominant in competition with the other alternative religious movements.

The salient focus of this dissertation concentrates on an unlimited semiosis. This concept seems most curious to a human mind, requiring of an interpreter torediscover the cognitive and aesthetic immanence of the mind, where resides the religious source. The Semiotic Theory of Religion offers religion as one ofthe most dynamic cultural movements interconnected with all humankind's cultural space---the Semiosphere.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access