Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE (www.oxfordhandbooks.com). © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 17 January 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Churches have been the subject of archaeological examination since the sixteenth century. As the most monumental expression of Christianity, they represent complex religious and societal ideologies, rooted in Jewish concepts of the synagogue and messianic kingship. The institution of the church was initially viewed as both a physical local body and a global spiritual kingdom, and these notions eventually became symbolized by architecture. In Christianity’s first three centuries, a variety of buildings could accommodate Christian congregations. During the emperor Constantine’s reign, the basilica became the most prestigious form of church and, by the end of the seventh century, was commonplace in Europe, North Africa, and western Asia. Churches were not just assemblages of various materials; they also housed burials, shrines, artifacts, and artistic programs. Archaeology examines how and when churches were designed, constructed, and changed, and how they contributed to the wider society.

Keywords: hypostyle, synagogue, basilica, relic, imperial architecture, liturgical furniture, emulation, masonry, ecclesiology, monumentality

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.