Fr Pavel Stefanov, Shoumen University, Bulgaria (archiman) wrote,
Fr Pavel Stefanov, Shoumen University, Bulgaria


Architecture of the Sacred: Space, Ritual, and Experience from Classical Greece to Byzantium
Edited by: Bonna D. Wescoat and Robert G. Ousterhout
Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2012, 416 pp., 151 b/w illus.
Price: £60.00


In this book, a distinguished team of authors explores the way space, place, architecture and ritual interact to construct sacred experience in the historical cultures of the eastern Mediterranean. Essays address fundamental issues and features that enable buildings to perform as spiritually transformative spaces in ancient Greek, Roman, Jewish, early Christian and Byzantine civilizations. Collectively they demonstrate the multiple ways in which works of architecture and their settings were active agents in the ritual process. Architecture did not merely host events; rather, it magnified and elevated them, interacting with rituals facilitating the construction of ceremony. This book examines comparatively the ways in which ideas and situations generated by the interaction of place, built environment, ritual action and memory contributed to the cultural formulation of the sacred experience in different religious faiths.


• Not geographically or culturally limited, but instead addresses Greek, Roman, Early Christian, Jewish and Byzantine constructions of sacred space
• The authors, chiefly archaeologists, are fundamentally grounded in the complex material remains; exploring constructions of sanctity from 'the ground up'
• Several essays introduce previously unpublished material

Table of Contents

Preface Robert G. Ousterhout and Bonna D. Wescoat
1. Material culture and ritual: state of the question Jaś Elsner
2. Monumental steps and the shaping of ceremony Mary B. Hollinshead
3. Coming and going in the sanctuary of the great gods, Samothrace Bonna D. Wescoat
4. Gateways to the mysteries: the Roman propylon and in the City Eleusinion Margaret M. Miles
5. Architecture and ritual in Ilion, Athens, and Rome C. Brian Rose
6. The same, but different: the temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus through time Ellen Perry
7. Mapping sacrifice on bodies and spaces in ancient Judaism and early Christianity Joan Branham
8. The 'foundation deposit' from the Dura Europos synagogue reconsidered Jodi Magness
9. Sight lines of sanctity at Late Antique Martyria Ann Marie Yasin
10. The sanctity of place and the sanctity of buildings: Jerusalem vs. Constantinople Robert G. Ousterhout
11. Divine light: constructing the immaterial in Byzantine art and architecture Slobodan Ćurčić
12. Architecture as a definer of sanctity in the monastery tou Libos in Constantinople Vasileios Marinis
Afterword Bonna D. Wescoat and Robert G. Ousterhout.


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