Religious literacy: a way forward for religious education?

P. Hannam, G. Biesta, S. Whittle, D. Aldridge

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (journal)peer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


In this paper, the central findings of a research project into religious literacy are presented. This project sought to answer the question as to whether or not religious literacy can be a way forward for religious education (RE). Starting with the idea of ‘literacy’, dominant approaches religious literacy in the literature are examined. An educational argument is developed, building on a definition of literacy in relation as being an effective navigation of a domain. At this point, a question is raised about whether domains should be accepted as they are, or whether education needs also to work with students on the ability to raise critical questions about how domains are defined and policed. This moves the discussion from functional literacy towards critical literacy; highlighting the political dimension of literacy. By way of conclusion, we consider what all this means for RE, and whether or not religious literacy can offer a way forward for RE.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)214-226
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Beliefs and Values
Issue number2
Early online date19 Mar 2020
Publication statusPublished - 2 Apr 2020


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