Theology in Built Environments: Exploring Religion, Architecture and Design

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9781412845809: Theology in Built Environments: Exploring Religion, Architecture and Design
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Built space is both a physical entity as well as a socially and historically constructed place. It constantly interacts with human beings, affecting their behavior, thinking, and feeling. Doing religious work in a particular environment implies acknowledging the surroundings to be integral to theology itself. The contributors to this volume view buildings, scriptures, conversations, prayers, preaching, artifacts, music and drama, and built and natural surroundings as contributors to a contextual theology.

The view of the environment in which religion is practiced as integrated with theology represents not just a new theme but also a necessity if one is to understand religion's own depth. Reflections about space and place and how they reflect and affect religious experience provide a challenge and an urgent necessity for theology. This is particularly important if religious practitioners are to become aware of how theology is given expression in the existential spatiality of life. Can space set theology free? This is a challenging question, one that the editor hopes can be answered, at least in part, in this volume.

The diversity of theoretical concepts in aesthetics, cultural theory, and architecture are not regarded as a problem to be solved by constructing one overarching dominant theory. Instead, this diversity is viewed in terms of its positive potential to inspire discourse about theology and aesthetics. In this discourse, theology does not need to become fully dependent on one or another theory, but should always clearly present its criteria for choosing this or that theoretical framework. This volume shows clearly how different modes of design in sacred spaces capture a sense of the religious.

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About the Author:

Sigurd Bergmann is professor of religious studies (theology, ethics, and philosophy of religion) at the department of philosophy and religious studies, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, and initiator and former chair of the European Forum for the Study of Religion and the Environment. His publications include Creation Set Free, God in Context, In the Beginning is the Icon, The Ethics of Mobility, and Theology in Built Environments

Review:

"Theology in Built Environments is utterly fascinating reading and deserves a place in any collection devoted to religion or architecture."

Wisconsin Bookwatch

"The essays are uniformly thoughtful, scholarly, and provocative. Recommended."

Choice

“One of the volume’s greatest strengths is its disciplinary diversity, which includes essays by theologians, Christian ethicists, sociologists of religion, architect, and visual artists.”

—Richard R. Bohannon II, Journal for the Study of Religion, Nature and Culture



“This anthology of essays exploring religion, architecture, and design presents a cross-section of current thinking, trends and propositions concerning the environments that we create for worship. Sigurd Bergmann . . . brings together the work of fourteen contributors (including the journal’s editor and editorial advisor Richard Vosko) who consider the place of architecture, art, and design in historical and contemporary sacred places. The contributors view buildings, scriptures, conversations, prayers, preachings, artifacts, music and drama, and built and natural surroundings as contributors to a contextual theology.”

Faith & Form: The Interfaith Journal on Religion, Art and Architecture

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