Annual Meeting Program
Sunday, November 19, 2000 - 9:00 am-11:30 am
Nashville, TN

Methods and Approaches for Examining Critical Spatiality in Antiquity


James W. Flanagan, Case Western Reserve University

Introduction to the Constructions of Ancient Space Seminar

Presenters: (10 minutes each)

Daria Pezzoli-Olgiati, University of Zurich, Switzerland

Images of Cities in Ancient Religions

Abstract: This paper presents a research study about religious interpretation ofspace, particularly of urban space. It aims to compare historical sources from different periods and cultures within the ancient Near East and theMediterranean area without involving a phenomenological approach. Selected religious interpretations of urban space are compared on the basisof a categorization of images of cities (images of the city as cosmos; as a model; as an expression of crisis; as "utopia"; as a condemnation).Following this methodological procedure different expressions of religious systems are compared on the basis of an external categorization: theseproceedings are an attempt to avoid generalizations and to point out the peculiarity of every single source in its context.

Mary R. Huie-Jolly, Knox College, New Zealand

Word Constructing Flesh: Portable Christianity and its Fragile Earth Connections

Abstract: Proclamation of Christianity as a universal religion undermines connectionto place and kin group by giving sacred priority to space and time and tribal roots elsewhere. In comparison, Maori practices ground the social construction and interpretation of space in tangible connection with tracksin the earth of ancestors. Maps of the cosmos in tribal societies routinely allow for change and adaptation within a socially grounded framework ofmeaning by reflecting the peoples' way of life and place their experience within sacred reality. To preserve twenty-first century peoples' connectionwith their habitat and ancestors as sacred, the paper proposes that the wholistic social-spatial characteristics of tribal religions be viewed as normative, while the portable Christian faith is evaluated for its relatednessto the earth and the social life of its peoples. My feminist postcolonial approach to constructs of space borrows from Immanuel Kant, HenriLeFebvre, Edward Soja, and Jonathan Z. Smith.

Roland T. Boer, Monash University, Australia

Henri Lefebvre and the Production of Space

Abstract: In the context of a much larger project, "Postmarxism and the Bible," I am interested in the construction and production of space in differentsocio-economic formations. For this paper I will make use of the work of Henri Lefebvre's The Production of Space, a work in which Lefebvre'sMarxist social theory was brought to bear on the question of space within capitalism and the irruption of a temporary new space in the revolution ofMay 68. Over against the distinction made by Michel de Certeau between space and place, Lefebvre's key argument is that specific socio-economicformations, or modes of production, produce space in different ways.

Whereas his interest was capitalism and communism, I will investigate whether the connection between modes of production and space holds up for the ancient Near East, and especially the Bible. Given Lefebvre's interest in the tension between between older and newer spaces, I seek out the possibility of similar tensions in the Hebrew Bible. Inorder to do so, I address three questions: How does the physical spatiality of the Hebrew text relate to socio-economic conditions? How might therepresentations of space in the text, through both materials used and words written, relate to the socio-economic conditions of its production? Can one trace the presence of conflicting spaces? The paper will focus on the MT and LXX texts of 1 Kings 3-10.

Discussion among Seminar members (55 minutes)

Recess (5 minutes)

General Discussion (30 minutes)

Business Meeting (20 minutes)

James W. Flanagan, Case Western Reserve University, Presiding

(Papers will be accessible beforehand on this website. For further information, please contact James W. Flanagan ( or Jon L. Berquist (