Hermeneutics of sacred architecture
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Hermeneutics of Sacred Architecture. Lindsay Jones Harvard University Press 2000. A. Architecture as Orientation. 1. Homology: Sacred architecture that presents a miniaturized replica of the universe and/or conforms to a celestial archetype.

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Hermeneutics of sacred architecture

Hermeneutics of Sacred Architecture

Lindsay Jones

Harvard University Press

2000


A architecture as orientation
A. Architecture as Orientation

  • 1. Homology: Sacred architecture that presents a miniaturized replica of the universe and/or conforms to a celestial archetype.

  • 2. Convention: Sacred architecture that conforms to standardized rules and/or prestigious mythicohistoric precedents

  • 3. Astronomy: Sacred architecture that is aligned or referenced with respect to celestial bodies or phenomena


A 1 homology
A. 1. Homology

  • Architectural expressions of hierophany or an earthly manifestation of “the sacred”.

  • Architectural imitations of celestial precedents or “archetypes”.

  • Architectural expressions of imago mundi, or cosmographic ordering.

  • Architectural expressions of axis mundi, or the symbolism of the center.


A 2 convention
A. 2. Convention

  • Architectures that conform to universalistic principles and proportions that are (considered to have been) derived from largely empirical observations of the natural world.

  • Architectures that conform to axoimatic stipulations that are (considered to have been) delivered by divine revelation or decree.

  • Architectures that conform to precedents that are (considered to have been) established by prestigious historical and/or mythical presence.


A 3 astronomy
A. 3. Astronomy

  • Astroarchitectural references, when coordinated with other orientational strategies, can substantially enhance the appearance of harmony and conformity to a generalized world order, and thus enhance the legitimacy – and allure – associated with a specific ritual-architectural circumstance.

  • Ritual-architectural choreographers may, on occasion, find ways to capitalize on some predictable sky phenomenon as a means for strategic scheduling of a ceremony.


  • Astroarchitectural orientations – which work, in a sense, to incorporate sky phenomena into the ritual context – can likewise substantially enhance the presentation and apprehension of meanings that bear on each of four commemorative elements:

    • Commemorations of Divinity

    • Commemorations of Sacred History

    • Commemorations of Sociopolitical Concerns

    • Commemorations of the Dead


B architecture as commemoration
B. Architecture as Commemoration to incorporate sky phenomena into the ritual context – can likewise substantially enhance the presentation and apprehension of meanings that bear on each of four commemorative elements:

  • 1. Divinity: Sacred architecture that commemorates, houses, and/or represents a deity, divine presence, or conception of ultimate reality.

  • 2. Sacred History: Sacred architecture that commemorates an important mythical, mythicohistorical, or miraculous episode or circumstance.



B 1 commemoration of divinity
B. 1. Commemoration of Divinity legitimates, or challenges socioeconomic hierarchy and/or temporal authority.

  • Personification or divinization of natural “architectural” features of the landscape.

  • Architecture that is conceived as the actual body of a deity.

  • Architecture that is conceived as an abode, residence, or house of a deity or divine presence.

  • Architecture that is conceived as a built expression of the attributes of a divinity.


B 2 commemoration of sacred history
B. 2. Commemoration of Sacred History legitimates, or challenges socioeconomic hierarchy and/or temporal authority.

  • Architectural configurations that serve as the stage-setting or backdrop for the reenactment of notable mythic, historic, and/or miraculous episodes.

  • Ritual-architectural commemorations of cosmogony.

  • Ritual-architectural commemorations of mythicohistorical episodes or occurences.

  • Ritual-architectural commemorations of mythicohistorical individuals or personages.

  • Ritual-architectural commemorations of mythical places, sites or locations.


B 3 commemoration of politics
B. 3. Commemoration of Politics legitimates, or challenges socioeconomic hierarchy and/or temporal authority.

  • Ritual-architectural configurations that reflect and perpetuate the prevailing social hierarchy.

  • Ritual-architectural configurations that challenge, undermine, and (maybe) change the prevailing social hierarchy.

  • Ritual-architectural configurations that serve more explicitly governmental functions.


B 4 commemoration of the dead
B. 4. Commemoration of the Dead legitimates, or challenges socioeconomic hierarchy and/or temporal authority.

  • Architectural configurations that facilitate “bodiless memorializing”.

  • Architectural configurations that serve as the actual embodiment, reactualization, or transmutation of the dead.

  • Architectural configurations designed for the assiduous treatment and accommodation of the physical, bodily remains of the (un)dead.


C architecture as ritual context
C. Architecture as Ritual Context legitimates, or challenges socioeconomic hierarchy and/or temporal authority.

  • 1. Theater: Sacred architecture that provides a stage setting or backdrop for ritual performance.

  • 2. Contemplation: Sacred architecture that serves as a prop or focus for meditation or devotion.



C 1 theater
C. 1. Theater construction designed to please, appease, and/or manipulate “the sacred” (however variously conceived).

  • Theatric allurement may entail the presentation of dramatic architectural spaces that seduce, affect, or amaze a solitary individual. The more prominent instances of theatric allurement involve carefully scheduled interactions between ritual performers and an audience of onlookers.

  • Dramatic presentational means intensify the effect and/or affect – that is, enhance the “quality of knowledge” – of the information presented in those contexts.


C 2 contemplation
C. 2. Contemplation construction designed to please, appease, and/or manipulate “the sacred” (however variously conceived).

  • Ritual-architectural instigation via contemplative modes involves the presentation of architectural configurations and elements that can serve as supports, guides, or perhaps “maps” to some sort of devotional experience.

  • Contemplative modes may serve to express messages with respect to each of the four commemorative elements but in each case the pertinent messages may be:

    • Highly rarified, cerebral, and abstract

    • More plainly educative and even didactic


C 3 propitiation
C. 3. Propitiation construction designed to please, appease, and/or manipulate “the sacred” (however variously conceived).

  • Propitiatory ritual uses of standing (already-built) architecture.

  • Architectural construction (or destruction) processes that are themselves conceived as propitiatory ritual:

    • (Re)building for periodic renewal

    • Building as a demonstration of devotion, sacrifice, or offering

    • Building as investment or petition

    • Ritualized destruction and defacement (“unbuilding”)


C 4 sanctuary
C. 4. Sanctuary construction designed to please, appease, and/or manipulate “the sacred” (however variously conceived).

  • Requisite preparation of various elements of the ritual-architectural situation:

    • Appropriation of natural “sanctuaries”

    • Preparatory sanctification of apparently ordinary places or human constructions

    • Preparatory sanctification of human ritual actors

  • Sanctuary modes may work with each of the four commemorative factors (divinity / sacred history / politics / the dead)


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