Document Type

Honors Paper

Department

History, Philosophy and Political Science

Publication Title

Remembering Eden: A Study of Garden Imagery in Judeo-Christian Worship Spaces

Abstract

Vases of flowers, a mural of wildlife, and poetic references to a garden, these artistic elements are all commonplace in Judeo-Christian worship spaces; but why? While all of these are certainly aesthetically pleasing, there is likely much more going on than mere interior decoration. This paper will begin by examining the source of garden imagery in the poetry of the Judeo-Christian tradition, demonstrating the significance and prevalence of Eden in the memory of the Judeo-Christian memory. Following this, the paper will then furnish and analyze several examples of Edenic imagery in the worship spaces, highlighting several important artistic elements shared by the various structures. Finally, this paper will converse with and critique the use of garden images both as a response to the Creation narrative as well as an intentional tool for ‘atmosphere creation’ through Daniel Siedell’s ‘Ecological Theory of Art’. In doing the above, this paper will posit its central thesis that the Garden of Eden as described by the Hebrew Bible is one of the foremost themes in the Judeo-Christian tradition, and as such, garden imagery is both used to remind congregants of their Edenic origin as well as create an environment which transports the imagination of those who enter the space, allowing for the creation of aesthetic-spiritual experience.

Date Accepted/Awarded

Winter 2020

Course

PHI310 Aesthetics

First Advisor/Reader

Carrie Peffley

Comments

This paper was presented at the 2021 Richard Macksey National Undergraduate Humanities Research Symposium at Johns Hopkins University.

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