by orienting participants in a particular way (39). We will focus on the latter sideof his project.Hughes does not assume a familiarity with either philosophy of languageor semiotic theory; rather, he provides a helpful, comprehensive survey of 20
-century philosophy of language (both analytic and continental, 16-30), as well asa careful introduction to Peirce’s semiotics (134-147), noting the importancedifferences between Peirce’s account (which Hughes takes to be superior) and thesemiotics of Ferdinand de Saussure (one of Derrida’s primary foils) and UmbertoEco (115-134). (Unfortunately, the book has a very short-term memory in thisrespect, valorizing 20
-century developments but missing the rich semiotictheology to be found in early fathers such as Gregory of Nyssa and Augustine, aswell as medieval Eucharistic reflection which revolved around “signs.”)This exposition of semiotic theory then sets the stage for the “application”of semiotics to worship in chapter 5. Given that the world is “signs all the way down” (69n103), by offering a range of signs worship provides a “platform onwhich to live” (68) or a map which orients us to our lifeworld, “making sense” of what we encounter. Worship, we might say, both informs and is informed by ourworldview, and both function semiotically. Hughes devotes most of this chapterto unpacking Peirce’s three-fold distinction between iconic signs, indexical signs,and symbolic signs—a bit too complex to summarize here. What I found of particular interest here (even if underdeveloped) is Hughes’ account of “semiotic
” (142, 203)—the way in which participation in a semiotic “biosphere”inculcates habits of orienting to the world (what Peirce called “the practicalbearing” of signs).