Religious Spaces, By Thomas Tweed

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Religious spaces, characterized by Thomas Tweed, are “differentiated,” “interrelated,” and “kinetic.” As a sacred city with spiritual significance in three major religions, Jerusalem is depicted thoroughly in the Hebrew Bible and illustrated as one of the spaces Tweed defines. The Bible emphasizes that Jerusalem was chosen by God and honored by Israelites, which differentiates it as a special, singular space; the description of Solomon’s Temple shows that the Holy City was interrelated to economic power and involved in the judgment of civil cases. Moreover, the conquest, development and destruction of Jerusalem illustrate the city as a kinetic space, reflecting the unsettled history of the Iron Age. These characteristics all make Jerusalem a religious and political center from the ancient Near East time to present day, guiding the footsteps of believers around the world.
In his essay “Space”, Thomas Tweed characterizes spaces for religious practices as “differentiated” locales that are sensually encountered and imaginatively figured. They are “more or less ‘special,’ ‘singular,’ or ‘set apart’” from “undifferentiated” or unnamed generic places (Tweed 2011: 119). He also states that spaces are “always interrelated with ‘nature’ and with ‘culture,’” and they are shaped by political processes, social relations and economic forces. Furthermore, defining religions as “confluence of organic-cultural flows” about “dwelling and crossing, about finding a place and moving across

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