Research

Landscapes of Salvation: Architecture and Memory in the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem

Megan Boomer | Samuel H. Kress Foundation

South apse, Crusader Church of Abu Ghosh, c. 1170

The twelfth-century monuments of the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem attracted pilgrims from across the Christian world, who came to see "the holy places in which the Lord lived as a man." Landscapes of Salvation: Architecture and Memory in the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem investigates how architecture, decoration, and liturgy worked together to structure this desired encounter between medieval viewer and biblical history.

The staging of natural rock and older architectural fragments in the Church at Abu Ghosh, Latin Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Church of Abraham in Hebron, and Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem provided worshippers with raw material that rendered the sacred past present. There was, however, a lack of consensus between patrons and viewers on the theological interpretation of the events marked by the loca sancta. In this charged landscape, space, image, text, and ritual were used to negotiate sacred and secular power among viewing communities. My study engages in a history of sacred space that considers how the twelfth-century structures responded to, and shaped, medieval understandings of sacred topography and time.

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