A Storehouse of Insight: “Architecture and Theology: The Art of Place”

BY JESSICA J. SCHROEDER on September 5, 2018

Murray Rae’s most recent book, Architecture and Theology: The Art of Place, is a storehouse of insight. Though the book’s title may seem to suggest an exclusive audience, thoughtful readers from all disciplines would find this work worth their time. For those with artistic sensibilities, Rae’s work is an absolute delight. For others, for whom art and architecture are simply curiosities, his work is a warm invitation to look more closely at the world we inhabit as well as a guide for discovering wonders in the woodwork and “angels in the architecture.” Architecture and theology illuminate one another. While neither necessarily adds something to the other that it did not previously possess, both have the capacity to shed light on realities inherent in the other.

Rae does a marvelous job of drawing from multiple disciplines in crafting his work, including theology, the arts (spatial and otherwise), philosophy, history, anthropology, and sociology. Indeed, his work is to be applauded as one that paves the way for interdisciplinary study and dialogue that serves to enrich all those involved.

Architecture and Theology is also filled with various figures and examples of structures throughout the world—in Rome, Paris, Japan, the United States, Barcelona, even Rae’s home country of New Zealand—that poignantly illustrate each chapter’s unique material. The inclusion of forty-seven select images aids readers in further grasping the thrusts of his arguments, and, I believe further piques readers’ curiosities by providing firsthand glimpses of the concepts under discussion.

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