Sacred Places and Profane Spaces: Essays in the Geographics of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam

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Jamie S. Scott, Paul Simpson-Housley
Greenwood Press, Jan 1, 1991 - Religion - 200 pages
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The editors and contributors to this pioneering volume have focused the lense of geography on new territory as they inquire critically into the spatial dimensions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, making this interdisciplinary project truly a new idea in the study of comparative religion and human geography. Editors Jamie Scott and Paul Simpson-Housley have organized the study into three broad areas of inquiry and have coined the term "Geographics" to encompass the three distinct yet interrelated spatial dimensions implicated in the study of religion. The first area concerns the literal role played by specific sites, regions, or geographical phenomena in the development of the three religions. The focus here is on city, wilderness, river valley, and mountain as well as flood, earthquake, whirlwind, and famine with attention devoted to methodological, epistemological, and ontological issues. The symbolic or interpreted role played by these same specific entities in the three religions is the second notion to be explored. The third focus is an inquiry into the geography of prophetic and apocalyptic visions and the role of geographical imagination in the development of religious self-understanding. This interface of natural and historical geography with the geography of the prophetic and apocalyptic imagination produces a graphic, sometimes terrifying landscape. The volume's nine essayists have approached their chapters with this threefold schematization in mind so that the book consists of one study devoted to each of these dimensions in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, as well as an introduction and afterword by the editors. Each essay discusses the relationship of the spatial and the sacred in scripture and in subsequent literary and theological reflection upon scriptural themes. The range of topics and variety of approaches used reflect the interpretive ambiguities that stem from the unique social, political, and economic functions conferred on places and spaces of particular significance in the life and thought of a religious tradition or community. The section on Judaism explores Jewish agricultural settlements in Palestine; the Temple Mount al-haram al-sharif; and the Garden of Eden. Indepth looks at Finland, women's geography, and the apocalyptic world comprise the section on Christianity. Iranian feasting and pilgrimage circuits, modern Egypt, and sacred geography are assessed in the final section on Islam. This carefully edited, innovative study offers a unique approach to the study of religion and will be read profitably by scholars and students of religion and geography.

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Contents

Jerusalems Temple Mount
21
The Temple and the Garden of Eden in Ezekiel the Book of
63
Luther Culture and Landscape in Finland
81
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About the author (1991)

JAMIE SCOTT is an Associate Professor of Religious Studies at York University, Ontario, Canada.PAUL SIMPSON-HOUSLEY is Associate Professor of Geography at York University.

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