Book Launch | What Christians Believe: The Story of God and People

Book Launch | What Christians Believe: The Story of God and People


The Humanities Research Centre has the pleasure of inviting you to the launch of Anna Wierzbicka’s new book What Christians Believe: The Story of God and People. The launch will be held on Monday 14 August at 12.30pm, in the Lady Wilson Room (in the Sir Roland Wilson Building), and will be hosted by Professor Will Christie, the Director of the HRC. Light lunch will be provided. The book will be launched by Professor Peter Hill (SLLL) and Professor Cliff Goddard (Griffith).

Anna Wierzbicka’s new book What Christians Believe: The Story of God and People was published in July 2017 by Znak in Cracow, Poland, in Polish. (An expanded English version is to be published by Oxford University Press in 2018.) The book, with full-colour illustrations from Christian art over the centuries, re-tells and re-thinks the basics of Christian faith in simple words and sentences which can be understood by anyone and which are cross-translatable into any language. The book is a semantic and theological experiment, and at the same time, it is an experiment in cross-cultural communication through a minimal language. (Minimal Polish and Minimal English match, word for word and phrase by phrase.)


Professor Anna Wierzbicka is a Professor in the Linguistics Program, School of Language Studies, Arts. In her 1972 book "Semantic Primitives" she launched a theory now known under the acronym "NSM" (Natural Semantic Metalanguage), which is now internationally recognized as one of the world's leading theories of language and meaning. This approach has been used in hundreads of semantic studies across many languages and cultures (NSM homepage, She has published over twenty books and edited or co-edited several others. Her work spans a number of disciplines, including anthropology, psychology, cognitive science, philosophy and religious studies as well as linguistics, and has been published in many journals across all these disciplines (e.g., Language, American Anthropologist, Man, Anthropological Linguistics, Cognition and Emotion, Culture and Psychology, Ethos, Philosophica, Brain and Behaviourial Sciences, The Journal of Cognition and Culture etc). Professor Wierzbicka is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities, the Australian Academy of Social Sciences, and of the Russian Academy of Sciences, and the Polish Academy of Arts and Sciences. She has two Honorary Doctorates, one from Marie Curie-Sklodowska University, Poland (2004) and one from Warsaw University, Poland (2006). She is the winner of the Dobrushin Prize for 2010 (established in Russia in honour of the Russian mathematician Roland Lvovich Dobrushin) and of the Polish Science Foundation’s 2010 prize for the humanities and social sciences.

Date & time

Mon 14 Aug 2017, 12.30–1.30pm


Lady Wilson Room, Sir Roland Wilson Building


Humanities Research Centre
+61 2 6125 4357


Updated:  27 July 2017/Responsible Officer:  Head, Centre/Page Contact:  CASS Marketing & Communications