The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Looking at churches

Design reveals theology in architecture

Books on church architecture often focus on buildings, ignoring the purposes for their design and construction. A notable exception is Theology in Stone: Church Architecture from Byzantium to Berkeley (Oxford University Press, 2004). Author Richard Kieckhefer, professor of religion and history at Northwestern University, Evanston, Ill., delves into history, theology, aesthetics and cultural analysis.

A particular focus is the ongoing debate about “traditional” architecture vs. “modern” or “reformist.” Kieckhefer doesn’t argue that one is better than the other. He discusses how each can emphasize particular theological ideas. His writing is clear and direct, definitely for the nonexpert.

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March issue

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