The term ‘religious literacy’ can be traced back to professor of philosophy Leo Ward’s 1953 article ‘The Right to Religious Literacy’ in the American journal Religious Education. This was followed by sociologist Vladimir de Lissovoy’s 1954 article, ‘A Sociological Approach to Religious Literacy’. A prolonged period of quiet followed, before professor of education Andrew Wright’s Religious Education in the Secondary school: Prospects for Religious Literacy, published in 1993, linked literacy with religion in an immediately educational context.

Sociology and politics were at this time imbuing ‘literacy’ with a richer set of meanings as narrative experiences and sets of social practices. The New Literacy Studies fostered the idea of multiliteracies and related these to cultural competence. In these contexts, Wright framed his arguments for a new religious ...

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