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Recommended Readings


By category:

What is “the sacred”? 

  • Rudolf Otto. 1958. The Idea of the Holy. John Harvey, Trans. Oxford University Press.

  • Mircea Eliade. The Sacred and the Profane.

  • J. Ellul. Descralization and Sacralization. Chapter 3 in The Subversion of Christianity. 2011. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdman’s Publishing Co., pp. 52-68.

  • Jonathan Z. Smith. The Wobbling Pivot. The Journal of Religion 52, no. 2 (Apr., 1972): 134-149.

  • Joel R. Brereton. Sacred Space. The Encyclopedia of Religion. Vol. 11, pp. 526-535. 

  • Ronald L. Grimes. 1999. Jonathan Z. Smith's Theory of Ritual Space. Religion 29:3, 261-273.

  • Girard, R. 1972. Violence and the Sacred.

  • Vanessa Avery. 2017. From the Sacred to the Holy in (and out of) the World’s Religions: Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism. The Palgrave Handbook of Mimetic Theory and Religion. James Alison and Wolfgang Palaver, eds. UK: Palgrave McMillan, pp. 257-263. 

Sacred Space; Space vs. Place; The Brain, The Body, and Ritual


  • Patrick McNamara. The Neuroscience of Religious Experience. God and the Self. Cambridge University Press, pp. 1-20. (20 pages) 

  • Victor Turner. The Ritual Process. 

  • Thomas A. Tweed. 2015. Space. Material Religion 7:1, 116-123.

  • Belden C. Lane. Giving Voice to Place: Three Models for Understanding American Sacred Space. Religion and American Culture: A Journal of Interpretation, Vol. 11 No. 1, Winter 2001; pp. 53-81.

  • Lindsay Jones. 2017. The Ambiguity of Sacred Space: Superabundance, Contestation, and Unpredictability and the Newark Earthworks in Ohio. In Place and Phenomenology. Janet Donohoe, ed. NY and London: Rowman & Littlefield. Pages 97-124.

  • Thomas Barrie, Julio Bermudez, and Phillip James Tabb, eds. 2015. Architecture, Culture, Spirituality. NY: Routledge.

  • Catherine Bell. 1997. Ritual: Perspectives and Dimensions. Oxford University Press.

  • Ron Grimes. 1995. Readings in Ritual Studies. NJ: Prentice Hall.

  • William James. 1982. The Varieties of Religious Experience. New York: Penguin (original work published in 1902).

  • Rebeccah Tuscano-Moss and Michael J. Crosbie. Construction as Prayer: The Making of the Sukkah. Faith and Form, Volume 50, Issue 2. ( Retrieved April 2, 2018.)

  • Kim Knott. 2005. The Location of Religion: A Spatial Analysis. London: Equinox.

  • ——-2011. From locality to location and back again: A spatial journey in the study of religion. Religion 39:2, 154-160

  • Ann Taves. 2009. Religious Experience Reconsidered: A Building Block Approach to the Study of Religion and Other Special Things. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

  • Mark C. Taylor. 1992. Disfiguring: Art, Architecture, Religion. University of Chicago Press.

  • Yi-Fy Tuan. 2002. Space and Place. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. 


Introduction to Zen Buddhism- History and Practice

  • Peter Hershock. 2005. Chan Buddhism. Honolulu: University of Hawaii. 

  • D. T. Suzuki. An Introduction to Zen Buddhism. 

  • Koun Yamada. 2005. The Gateless Gate. 

  • Shunryu Suzuki. Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind.

  • Robert E. Kennedy. Zen Spirit, Christian Spirit. New York: Continuum, 1995. 

Zen Aesthetics and Zen in the West 

  • Thomas Barrie. 1996. The Koto-in Zen Temple. Spiritual Path, Sacred Place: Myth, Ritual, and Meaning in Architecture. Boston: Shambala. Pages 180-213. 

  • Rumiko Handa. Experiencing the Architecture of the Incomplete, Imperfect, and Impermanent. In Thomas Barrie, Julio Bermudez, and Phillip James Tabb, eds. 2015. Architecture, Culture, Spirituality. NY: Routledge. Chapter 15 (pp. 199-210).

  • Alan Watts. Summer-Fall 1996. Beat Zen, Square Zen, and Zen. In Chicago Review, 42:3. University of Chicago Press (page 49(8)). (1 page) Available online at Miscellaneous/Beat_Zen_Square_Zen.html. 

  • Rick Fields. 1991. How the Swans Came to the Lake: A Narrative History of Buddhism in America. MA: Shambala.

  • Jennifer Howe Peace, Or Rose, and Gregory Mobley. 2012. My Neighbor’s Faith: Stories of Interreligious Encounter, Growth, and Transformation. NY: Orbis.

  • Vladimir Latinovic, Gerard Mannion, and Peter Phan, eds. 2016. Pathways for Interreligious Dialogue in the Twenty-First Century. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

  • David Cheetham, Douglas Prait and David Thomas, eds. 2013. Understanding Interreligious Relations. Oxford University Press.


Judaism — Sacred Space, Sacred Power, Sacred Time

  • Video: The Ancient Temple and Sacred Power 

  • David M. Elcott. “What’s Jewish?” (American Jewish Committee booklet), pp. iii-38.

  • Abraham Joshua Heschel. 1951. The Sabbath. NY: FSG.

  • Kurt Simonson, “Chronos, Kairos and Tea Breaks’ in Biola, Fall 2001 ( fall/chronos-kairos-and-tea-breaks/)

Judaism — Sacred Space, Sacred Place, The Holy Land 

  • Harold Turner. 1979. From Temple to Meeting House: The Theology and Phenomenology of Houses of Worship, pages 278-301.

  • S.D. Kunin. 1998. God's Place in the World: Sacred Space and Sacred Place in Judaism, pp. 11-45.

  • R.P. Gordon. 2004. Holy Land, Holy City: Sacred Geography and the Interpretation of the Bible, pp. 1-34. 

  • Robert Mugerauer. 2017. The Double Gift— Place and Identity. In Place and Phenomenology. Janet Donohoe, ed. NY and London: Rowman & Littlefield. 

  • Jonathan Magonet, Talking to the Other: Jewish Interfaith Dialogue with Christians and Muslims. Chapters 2 and 8. 

Catholicism on Sacred Architecture: What makes architecture sacred? 

  • Uwe Michael Lang, “What makes architecture “sacred”? In Logos: A Journal of Catholic Thought and Culture, Vol. 17, Number 4, Fall 2014, pp. 44-72.

  • 2006. The Via Puchritudinis, Privileged Pathway to Evangelization and Dialogue. Rome: Pontifical Council for Culture.

  • Sister Joan L Roccasalvo, C.S.J. The God of the Senses and Church Architecture. Homiletic and Pastoral Review. Ignatius Press, August-September 2009. 

  • Gerald O’Collins. 2017. Catholicism: A Very Short Introduction, 2nd edition. Oxford University Press. 

  • Dennis Mcnamara. 2011. How to Read Churches: A Crash Course in Ecclesiastical Architecture. Rizzoli. 

  • Harold Turner. 1979. From Temple to Meeting House: The Theology and Phenomenology of Houses of Worship, pages 302-344.

  • Thomas Barrie. 2010. The Sacred In-Between: The Mediating Roles of Architecture. London; New York: Routledge. 


Christianity and Ritual-Architectural Events 

  • Ronald Grimes. Ritual, Performing, and the Sequestering of Sacred Space,.

  • Todd E. Johnson and Dale Savidge. 2009. Performing the Sacred: Theology and Theatre in Dialogue. Baker.

  • Prem Chandavarkar. Wonder, Wisdom, and Mastery in Architecture. In Thomas Barrie, Julio Bermudez, and Phillip James Tabb, eds. 2015. Architecture, Culture, Spirituality. NY: Routledge. Chapter 16 (pp. 211-220).

  • Lindsay Jones. 2015. Architectural Catalysts to Contemplation. Transcending Architecture: Contemporary Views on Sacred Space. Julio Bermudez, ed. Catholic University of America Press. Pages 170-207. 

  • Jeanne Halgren Kilde. 2008. Sacred Power, Sacred Space: An Introduction to Christian Architecture and Worship. Oxford University Press. 

  • Heidi Hadsell. Interfaith Dialogue in Christian Theological Education in North America: Opportunities and Challenges. Handbook of Theological Education in World Christianity, D. Werner, D. Esterlien, N. Kang, and J. Raja, eds.


Introduction to Islam and Islamic Architecture 

  • Islam: A Short Guide to the Faith. Roger M. A. Allen and Shawkat M. Toorawa, eds.

  • Ihsan Bagby. The American Mosque. Reports 1, 2, and 3. Council on American Islamic Relations. N.p.: CAIR, 2011. 

  • Oleg Grabar. 1987. The Formation of Islamic Art. Revised, enlarged edition. Yale University Press. 

  • Seyyed H. Nasr. 1987. Islamic Art and Spirituality. State University of New York.

  • Reza Aslan. 2005. No god, but God. NY: Random House.

  • Ingrid Mattson. The Story of the Qur’an: Its History and Place in Muslim Life, second edition. Wiley- Blackwell.

  • Mustansir Mir. Islamic Views of Jesus. Gregory A. Baker, ed. Jesus in the World’s Faiths. 

  • Elizabeth Dickinson. Contemporary Mosque: Placing Worship.

  • Philip L. Pasquini. Domes, Arches and Minarets: A History of Islamic-inspired Buildings in America.  Novato, CA: Flypaper, 2012.

  • Videos: 

  • “A Mosque in Morgantown”; CNN documentary

  • “Unwelcome: Muslims Next Door” (On Mosques and America after 9/11) 


Islam, Women, and Gendered Space 

  • Amina Wadud. 1999. Qur’an and Woman: Rereading the Sacred Text from a Woman’s Perspective. Oxford University Press. 

  • Tammy Gaber. Gendered Mosque Spaces. Faith and Form, Volume 48, Issue 1. 

  • Kathryn Beebe, Angela Davis, and Kathryn Gleadle. Introduction: Space, Place and Gendered Identities: feminist history and the spatial turn. Women’s History Review, Vol. 21, No. 4. Sept. 2012: 523-532.

  • Akel Kahera. 2002. Deconstructing the American Mosque: Space, Gender, and Aesthetics. Austin: University of Texas Press. 

  • Linda S. Walbridge. Without Forgetting the Imam. 

  • Jane I. Smith. 2007. Muslims, Christians, and the Challenge of Interfaith Dialogue. Oxford University Press.

  • Siddiqui. 2005. Women Friendly Mosques and Community Centers.

  • Jenine Kotob. 2016. Why Now, More Than Ever, We Need A New Islamic Architecture. Metropolis Magazine. architecture/. 

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