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Theology in Stone: Church Architecture From Byzantium to Berkeley Paperback – July 24, 2008

ISBN-13: 978-0195340563 ISBN-10: 0195340566

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Theology in Stone: Church Architecture From Byzantium to Berkeley + Sacred Power, Sacred Space: An Introduction to Christian Architecture and Worship + How to Read Churches: A Crash Course in Ecclesiastical Architecture
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press (July 24, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195340566
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195340563
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 1 x 6.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #255,253 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"A fascinating, richly detailed, and readable account of church architecture. An elegantly written, learned and stimulating book." --Spiritus"A brilliant contribution to the growing literature on church insightful study that draws on a wide range of visual evidence from many layers--liturgical, architectural, historical, aesthetic--and from throughout the Christian world, suggesting that historians as well as laypeople could greatly benefit from a theological vision of church architecture that understands its own history but is still relevant for today's needs: looking backwards and forwards for new forms of sacred experience."--Journal of the American Academy of Religion, .."a brilliant contribution to the growing literature on church architecture.... Theology in Stone contributes to the field of religious architecture studies through emphasizing the importance of historical reflection and meditation on the purposes of church architecture as sacred spaces."--Journalof the American Academy of Religion"Richard Kieckhefer has given us a remarkable book on church architecture--rich in history but also aware of contemporary debates, and thoroughly engaging in its dialogue with theology, liturgy, and aesthetics. I cannot think of a more timely study of the topic, nor one in which strong claims areexpressed in such a non-dogmatic and truly edifying fashion." --Frank Burch Brown, Frederick Doyle Kershner Professor of Religion and the Arts, Christian Theological Seminary, Indianapolis"An informed and well-written volume that stands above most other current work in the field....Essential."--Choice"Far too many books dealing with church buildings are content either to remain historical, or indulge in architectural details to a point of tedium. Richard Kieckhefer presents a paradigm of how to read a church, both liturgically and theologically. Not overburdened with technical jargon, this studyrepresents an important contribution to a theology of sacred space."--Bryan D. Spinks, Professor of Liturgical Studies, Yale University Divinity School and Institute of Sacred Music"Masterfully interweaving history, theology, and aesthetics in his examination of well-chosen case studies, Kieckhefer transforms our understanding of church architecture by showing how, in practice, churches have been used and experienced by Christian worshipers through the centuries and in thepresent day."--Arthur Holder, Dean, Graduate Theological Union

About the Author

Richard Kieckhefer is a Professor of Religion and History at Northwestern University.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 24 people found the following review helpful By FrKurt Messick HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 17, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Perhaps it is because I come from the same background (Western Anglo-Catholic) as the approach from which Richard Kieckhefer comes in this text that I find such a resonance with what he has to say. 'Theology in Stone' looks at various aspects of church design, from the long tradition of church building in Christianity up to the present time. His text begins with four principle factors in basic church design, and then looks in some detail at three particular styles.

The four factors highlighted are not typical architectural concerns, but rather wrapped up in spiritual, theological, and aesthetic values. How does the space work? What is the central and centering focus? Is there an aesthetic impact compatible with the intention of the church? How do symbols function and resonate? There are no universal answers to these types of questions. As Kieckhefer states, 'Response to a church [is] conditioned by culture and by cultural interaction.' Response is also related to expectations, usefulness, the people populating the church, and a number of other concerns. However, perhaps most importantly, response to a church is a learned process that generally 'requires informed reflection. The meanings of a church are seldom obvious.'

With regard to spatial dynamics and centering focus, Kieckhefer states, the purpose of the building is expressed. The symbolic resonance goes to the meaning of the church, and the aesthetic impact relates to the form. Kieckhefer takes classic church architecture ideas and applies them not to the task of planning and building a church as much as to understanding how the buildings function and have meaning for those who use them now. Kieckhefer also differentiates between the issue of what a church has meant and what a church can mean.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By D. McConeghy on August 21, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Kieckhefer has done an admirable job trying to create a convincing scholarly narrative for the evolution of church architecture. This work adds to the growing body of texts on religious architecture and stands as an important contribution to the field. My reservations about the book come from its lackluster choice of "illustrative" examples. Kieckhefer has a wealth of examples to choose from and rather than picking the rule picks the exception. This demonstrates the valuable spirit of experimentation and development the field has come to expect of architects, but only scratches the surface of the wealth of architectural patterns that are evident today.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Ann-Kristin Olsen on July 15, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book give you a good look in church architecture and is written in a good way and easy to understand.
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