Two different ways of thinking about “religious” vocabulary.

I hope a picture is worth a thousand words, because I don’t have time for even a hundred words right now. But in re: Benjamin’s remarks about religion below, here are two different ways of looking at the Google ngrams dataset. On the one hand, drastic decline:

On the other hand, not doing so bad:

These images come out of work Loretta Auvil, Jordan Sellers, Boris Capitanu and myself presented at the Chicago Colloquium on Digital Humanities and Computer Science last fall. In a sense the contrast between those two pictures contains a compressed version of a lot of recent discourse rethinking the meaning of “secularization.” I’ll have to leave the meaning of the contrast elliptical for now, though.

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About tedunderwood

Ted Underwood is Professor of English at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. On Twitter he is @Ted_Underwood.
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