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Unity within Diverse Multiplicity: masonry, method, and analogy in Byzantine architecture

Outram Khalili, Iliona (2023) Unity within Diverse Multiplicity: masonry, method, and analogy in Byzantine architecture. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent, n/a. (doi:10.22024/UniKent/01.02.101165) (Access to this publication is currently restricted. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided) (KAR id:101165)

Language: English

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Architecture is a mute medium. It presents neither pictures nor words. Its power is as a medium in which the whole human body is immersed. We spend almost all our time in buildings, yet in everyday life we are usually unconscious of its continuous communication through its forms and materials.

This research proposes that load-bearing masonry architecture offers an experience of theology to its builders and visitors. Yet how can one prove this

if historical mason-builders never wrote this down? How can one show that building could be a theological medium with a contemplation as potent as any rosary and a mystagogy as valid as any pilgrimage, in harmony with the natu- ral world, and a journey to divine unity? This thesis focuses on the masonry church of Hagia Sophia, Thessaloniki by comparing the three categories of ritual, iconography, and masonry architecture. It is a unique example of a Byz- antine cross-domed church, since it still retains its essential iconography, and in it the early Christian liturgies continue to be celebrated.

Primary theological texts from Dionysios the (pseudo) Areopagite to Maxi- mos the Confessor, as well as 6th century literary ekphraseis (eulogies) to other Hagia Sophias, guide this work of comparison and translation. In methodology, two modern philosophers are referenced, Michel Foucault and Gaston Ba- chelard, to illustrate aspects of the above theologians's work for the contempo- rary reader.

This thesis translates between these three categories using theoria (theory) and mystagogia, (mystagogy) seeking to infer a masons' guided (mystagogic) method, whereby an intangible, timeless metaphysics could be communicated by the material architecture. This exercise in translation from one medium of expression to another, and from one category of knowledge to another, begins to uncover a language of architectural theory that harmonizes a sense of 'unity within diverse multiplicity' with the material environment. The methodology puts the focus on hands-on experience which could be transferrable to modern masonry and even sustainable technologies, as healing for the individual and the community.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
Thesis advisor: Fontana-Giusti, Gordana
Thesis advisor: Carrette, Jeremy
DOI/Identification number: 10.22024/UniKent/01.02.101165
Uncontrolled keywords: architecture; ontology; poetics; Byzantine; masonry construction; mystagogy; analogy; theology; Hagia Sophia; spiritual practice; anagogy; iconography; ekphrasis; cathedral; Sougitha;
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BL Religion
N Visual Arts > NA Architecture
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > Kent School of Architecture and Planning
SWORD Depositor: System Moodle
Depositing User: System Moodle
Date Deposited: 05 May 2023 08:10 UTC
Last Modified: 09 May 2023 15:12 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

University of Kent Author Information

Outram Khalili, Iliona.

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