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This work is a synopsis of an argument for a semiotic approach to theorizing religion. The central argument combines Jonathan Z. Smith's notion of "sacred persistence" as the dynamic relationship between a canon and a hermeneute with the work of Roland Barthes, Michel Foucault, Friedrich Nietzsche, and Mikhail Bakhtin. The argument is that religion is a process of on-going semiotic construction and displacement wherein heremeneutes select paradigmatic elements to form syntagmatic combinations.doi:10.1163/15700680360549411 fatcat:2hbaur2nvncdjnypkqboh4kc34