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Review of Biblical Literature Blog

Foucault's Heterotopia in Christian Catacombs: Constructing Spaces and Symbols in Ancient Rome
Smith, Eric C.

New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014 pp. ix + 201. £60.00

Series Information
Religion and Spatial Studies


Description: Ringing the city like pearls on a necklace and plunging beneath the earth into darkness, the Christian catacombs of Rome have inspired and captivated people for centuries. This book takes a new approach to the study of the catacombs, using spatial theory to understand the way the catacombs were constructed, decorated, and used. Relying on the theoretical work of Michel Foucault and Henri Lefebvre, this book moves beyond traditional forms of analysis to turn a new lens to the work of understanding these monuments of early Christianity. The location and form of the Callistus Catacomb, the art found inside, the texts referenced in that art, and the community practices performed and referenced deep underground form the heart of this innovative take on the grand burial sites of the early church.

Subjects: Methods, Historical Approaches, History, Other History

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Review by Valérie Nicolet
Published 10/13/2017
Citation: Valérie Nicolet, review of Eric C. Smith, Foucault's Heterotopia in Christian Catacombs: Constructing Spaces and Symbols in Ancient Rome, Review of Biblical Literature [http://www.bookreviews.org] (2017).


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