MYTHS IN STONE: Religious Dimensions of Washington, D.C.
Current Rooks and his activism led to another stay in prison, this time with his fourth wife, Edith, for a week in 1961, Retired to North Wales, he continued writing ;ind arguing while try- ing without success to patch up the many rends in his life's fabric, including estrange- ments from his ex-wives, children, and granclcliilclren. Monk is severely critical. His condemna- tion rests substantially on a judgment of Russell's journalism, which, he believes, exem- plifies tlie philosopher's s...
If you follow the tourists around Washington, D.C., it’s hard to miss the element of pilgrimage. Visitors come to see vistas that reaffirm the meaning of American history. The stone temples of the city’s monumental core hold out visions of the nation’s purpose; the Republic’s founding documents rest under glass in the sacred space of the National Archives. The experience of viewing these sites, Meyer argues, is fundamentally religious. He quotes historian Daniel Boorstin: "Architecture can and does play the role of ritual."
Meyer, a professor of religion at the University of North Carolina, never quite explains what makes something a religious experience rather than a ritual or symbolic one, and the failure leaves conceptual gaps in this otherwise intriguing book. But his definition of religion is evidently capacious. He traces some of Washington’s "religious" aspects back to Babylon and other ancient capitals: radiating avenues, orientation of the city’s main axes to the four points of the compass, "central monumental architecture like temples, palaces, pyramids, ziggurats, and raised altars," and "processional boulevards connecting these places of power." Such architecture, Meyer says, symbolizes the larger cosmic order and proclaims a connection between the city and its heavenly sponsors.
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