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date: 29 March 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The nineteenth century was an age of church building—and not just of church building. Over the period, more places of worship, schools, hospitals, religious charities, and religious communities were built or restored than ever before. Not surprisingly, the form this epidemic of religious architecture took was deeply contested. Battles raged between and within denominations about the appropriate style, plan, or liturgical arrangement of their churches. Architecture was the focus of serious—and deeply theological—debates. Drawing on examples taken from across the nineteenth-century world, this chapter argues that these buildings were intended to be embodiments of theology. In that sense, examining the architecture of nineteenth-century Christianity enables us to approach the subject of this Handbook in rather different ways, exploring theology as it was practised by ordinary people as well as debated by intellectuals.

Keywords: architecture, material religion, Gothic, Romanticism, epistemology, liturgy

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