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Expressions of sacred space: temple architecture in the Ancient Near East

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dc.contributor.advisor Vermaak, P. S.
dc.contributor.author Palmer, Martin J., 1953-
dc.date.accessioned 2012-11-15T09:18:38Z
dc.date.available 2012-11-15T09:18:38Z
dc.date.issued 2012-02
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/10500/7875
dc.description.abstract The objective of this thesis is to identify, isolate, and expound the concepts of sacred space and its ancillary doctrines and to show how they were expressed in ancient temple architecture and ritual. The fundamental concept of sacred space defined the nature of the holiness that pervaded the temple. The idea of sacred space included the ancient view of the temple as a mountain. Other subsets of the basic notion of sacred space include the role of the creation story in temple ritual, its status as an image of a heavenly temple and its location on the axis mundi, the temple as the site of the hieros gamos, the substantial role of the temple regarding kingship and coronation rites, the temple as a symbol of the Tree of Life, and the role played by water as a symbol of physical and spiritual blessings streaming forth from the temple. Temple ritual, architecture, and construction techniques expressed these concepts in various ways. These expressions, identified in the literary and archaeological records, were surprisingly consistent throughout the ancient Near East across large expanses of space and time. Under the general heading of Techniques of Construction and Decoration, this thesis examines the concept of the primordial mound and its application in temple architecture, the practice of foundation deposits, the purposes and functions of enclosure walls, principles of orientation, alignment, and measurement, and interior decorations. Under the rubric of General Temple Arrangement are explored the issues of the tripartite and other temple floor plans, the curious institution of the ziggurat, the meaning of temple pillars, the presence of sacred groves and the idea of the Tree of Life, and temple/palace symbiosis. The category Arrangement of Cultic Areas and Ritual Paraphernalia deals with areas such as elevated statues of the deity in the innermost sanctuary, sources of water for ablutions, the temple as a site for a cult of the dead, and altars and animal sacrifice. The concept of sacred space and its ancillary ideologies provided underlying justification and support for all the peculiar distinctions that characterised temple architecture in the ancient Near East. en
dc.format.extent 1 online resource (vi, 378 p.)
dc.language.iso en en
dc.subject No keywords available en
dc.subject.ddc 726.109394
dc.subject.lcsh Temples -- Middle East
dc.subject.lcsh Architecture, Ancient -- Middle East
dc.subject.lcsh Middle East -- Antiquities
dc.title Expressions of sacred space: temple architecture in the Ancient Near East en
dc.type Thesis en
dc.description.department Old Testament & Ancient Near Eastern Studies en
dc.description.degree D. Litt. et Phil. (Ancient Near Eastern Studies)


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    Electronic versions of theses and dissertations submitted to Unisa since 2003

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