Religion, Culture, And Sacred Space

Hardcover | September 15, 2008

byMartyn Smith

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This book proposes a new way of thinking about how a place becomes sacred and investigates the cultural considerations that influence the way a place becomes fixed in a society’s consciousness.  Smith argues that intense emotional attachments to places are constructed by texts that attach a narrative to the physical landscape. Through an examination of a wide range of sites--including Abydos in ancient Egypt, Delos in classical Greece, and Mecca in medieval Islam—a new theory of the human relationship to space is elaborated. His is a theory that has implications for the way we go about preserving landscapes as well as the way we understand our own experience of the world.

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This book proposes a new way of thinking about how a place becomes sacred and investigates the cultural considerations that influence the way a place becomes fixed in a society’s consciousness.  Smith argues that intense emotional attachments to places are constructed by texts that attach a narrative to the physical landscape. Through ...

Martyn Smith is Assistant Professor of Religious Studies, Lawrence University. He maintains the website OldRoads.org, which has links to images and maps for the sites mentioned in this book.

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:196 pages, 8.5 × 5.5 × 0.5 inPublished:September 15, 2008Publisher:Palgrave MacmillanLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0230608302

ISBN - 13:9780230608306

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“Smith has produced a fascinating study of narratives that center on sacred places.  Through a deeply layered reading of texts, stories, and narratives he shows how places are associated with, are imbued, and transformed by the memories, histories, and constructed identities of religious groups. His study, besides being of value to scholars of literature and narrative, will appeal to those interested in how places come to be regarded as sacred places, and to those interested in debates about the nature of the sacred and how it may be produced; it will also appeal to scholars of pilgrimage, who will find in his excavation of the narratives associated with specific places, much to aid them in  their understanding of how places not only attract visitors but, crucially, how the narratives of place shape and frame the ways in which such places are seen and experienced by pilgrims.”--Ian Reader, University of Manchester