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The Secret Language of Sacred Places: Religious Architecture of the World
Jon Cannon Thursday 20 September 2018

From Chartres cathedral to Angkor Wat, religion has been the inspiration for many of the greatest buildings of the world. Indeed, for much of human history, the story of architecture and the story of faith were synonymous.

This lecture explains the architecture of each of the major faith traditions, revealing how it is shaped by their rituals and beliefs. It briefly covers the sacred architecture of such early societies as Mesopotamia, Egypt and the Americas before focusing on the living faiths: the great continuities embodied in the sacred architecture of Buddhism and Hinduism, and the revolutionary changes brought about in monotheistic Judaism, Christianity and Islam. It thus brings fresh insights into some of the most remarkable buildings on the planet.

The aim is to leave the audience understanding why and how (for example) a mosque is different from a synagogue or a church (and how they interrelate), as well as having a ‘big picture’ overview of what is happening where and when in the sacred buildings of planet earth.

Jon Cannon wrote Cathedral: the Great English Cathedrals and the World that Made Them (2007), and presented BBC television's How to Build a Cathedral. His book The Secret Language of Sacred Spaces: Decoding Temples, Mosques, Churches and other Places of Worship around the World was published in 2013 and The Shire book of Medieval Architectural Style the following year. He is currently working on a major book on geology and place in the British landscape. He is a part time lecturer in the History of Art at the University of Bristol; holds a degree in the History of Art from the University of Sussex. He also leads tours on medieval church art, architecture and history and is Lay canon (Keeper of the Fabric) at Bristol Cathedral.