The Architecture of Medieval Churches : Theology of Love in Practice book cover
1st Edition

The Architecture of Medieval Churches
Theology of Love in Practice

ISBN 9780367502003
Published March 22, 2020 by Routledge
280 Pages 80 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

The Architecture of Medieval Churches investigates the impact of affective theology on architecture and artefacts, focusing on the Middle Ages as a period of high achievement of this synthesis. It explores aspects of medieval church and cathedral architecture in relation to the contemporary metaphysics and theology, which articulated an integrated theocentric culture, architecture, and art. Three modes of attention: comprehension, instruction, and contemplation, informed the builders’ intuition and intention. The book’s central premise reasons that love for God was the critical force in the creation of vernacular church architecture, using a selection of medieval writings to provide a unique critique of the genius of architecture and art during this period. An interdisciplinary study between architecture, theology, and philosophy, it will appeal to academics and researchers in these fields.

Table of Contents

1 Introduction

2 The mind in love

3 The mirror of comprehension: the trivium

4. The mirror of instruction: the quadrivium

5 The mirror of contemplation: life in nature

6 Building in love

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John A. H. Lewis holds Bachelor and Master of Architecture degrees from the University of Auckland, and a PhD (Theology) from the University of Otago. He is a member of the New Zealand Institute of Architects, and practised as an architect for thirty years before concentrating as an independent scholar on medieval studies in architecture, theology, and Dante Alighieri.


"The argument for the influence of love on medieval church architecture is exceptional in its originality, scope and development.

Given his premises, the argument from theology is of such importance that it is sure to force a rethinking of the influences on medieval church building, while suggesting modern application as well.

The discussion of the churches reflects an unusually proficient grasp of the architectural issues. Lewis makes a strong case for understanding Gothic churches as expressions of vernacular architecture—something that historicist focus on developing styles has mostly misunderstood.

This book will make a major contribution to the emerging field which one might call theology and the built environment."

William Dyrness, Professor of Theology & Culture, Fuller Theological Seminary, USA