Early Christian Perceptions of Sacred Spaces

James Thomas Hadley

Abstract



Previous studies of early Christian beliefs have portrayed the community as being highly anti-materialist and anti-social. It was argued that Christians rejected the category of “sacred space” and exhibited only secular and functional behavior regarding place. Beginning in the late 1970s a growing body of scientific literature has questioned the veracity of these claims. Reviewing the material culture record in the first four centuries of the Christian community (architecture, objects, art), this article proposes that Christians were far more culturally homogeneous in late antiquity, and accepted in large part the material mediation of the divine.

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