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When Church Became Theatre: The Transformation of Evangelical Architecture and Worship in Nineteenth-Century America [Hardcover]

By Jeanne Halgren Kilde (Author)
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Item description for When Church Became Theatre: The Transformation of Evangelical Architecture and Worship in Nineteenth-Century America by Jeanne Halgren Kilde...

Overview
For nearly eighteen centuries, two fundamental spatial plans dominated Christian architecture: the basilica and the central plan. In the 1880s, however, profound socio-economic and technological changes in the United States contributed to the rejection of these traditions and the development of a radically new worship building, the auditorium church. When Church Became Theatre focuses on this radical shift in evangelical Protestant architecture and links it to changes in worship style and religious mission. The auditorium style, featuring a prominent stage from which rows of pews radiated up a sloping floor, was derived directly from the theatre, an unusual source for religious architecture but one with a similar goal-to gather large groups within range of a speaker's voice. Theatrical elements were prominent; many featured proscenium arches, marquee lighting, theatre seats, and even opera boxes. Examining these churches and the discussions surrounding their development, Jeanne Halgren Kilde focuses on how these buildings helped congregations negotiate supernatural, social, and personal power. These worship spaces underscored performative and entertainment aspects of the service and in so doing transformed relationships between clergy and audiences. In auditorium churches, the congregants' personal and social power derived as much from consumerism as from piety, and clerical power lay in dramatic expertise rather than connections to social institutions. By erecting these buildings, argues Kilde, middle class religious audiences demonstrated the move toward a consumer-oriented model of religious participation that gave them unprecedented influence over the worship experience and church mission.

Publishers Description
For nearly eighteen centuries, two fundamental spatial plans dominated Christian architecture: the basilica and the central plan. In the 1880s, however, profound socio-economic and technological changes in the United States contributed to the rejection of these traditions and the development of a radically new worship building, the auditorium church. When Church Became Theatre focuses on this radical shift in evangelical Protestant architecture and links it to changes in worship style and religious mission.
The auditorium style, featuring a prominent stage from which rows of pews radiated up a sloping floor, was derived directly from the theatre, an unusual source for religious architecture but one with a similar goal-to gather large groups within range of a speaker's voice. Theatrical elements were prominent; many featured proscenium arches, marquee lighting, theatre seats, and even opera boxes.
Examining these churches and the discussions surrounding their development, Jeanne Halgren Kilde focuses on how these buildings helped congregations negotiate supernatural, social, and personal power. These worship spaces underscored performative and entertainment aspects of the service and in so doing transformed relationships between clergy and audiences. In auditorium churches, the congregants' personal and social power derived as much from consumerism as from piety, and clerical power lay in dramatic expertise rather than connections to social institutions. By erecting these buildings, argues Kilde, middle class religious audiences demonstrated the move toward a consumer-oriented model of religious participation that gave them unprecedented influence over the worship experience and church mission.

Citations And Professional Reviews
When Church Became Theatre: The Transformation of Evangelical Architecture and Worship in Nineteenth-Century America by Jeanne Halgren Kilde has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -
  • New York Review of Books - 07/17/2003 page 41


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Item Specifications...


Studio: Oxford University Press, USA
Pages   310
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.54" Width: 6.5" Height: 0.95"
Weight:   1.35 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Jul 11, 2002
Publisher   Oxford University Press
Edition  New  
ISBN  0195143418  
ISBN13  9780195143416  


Availability  0 units.


More About Jeanne Halgren Kilde


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Jeanne Halgren Kilde is the author of When Church Became Theatre: The Transformation of Evangelical Architecture and Worship in Nineteenth-Century America. She is the Director of the Religious Studies Program at the University of Minnesota.


Jeanne Halgren Kilde was born in 1957 and has an academic affiliation as follows - Macalester College Institute for Advanced Study, University of Minneso.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > History > Americas > United States > 19th Century > General
2Books > Subjects > Professional & Technical > Architecture > Building Types & Styles > Religious Buildings
3Books > Subjects > Professional & Technical > Architecture > General
4Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Clergy > Church Institutions & Organizations
5Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Evangelism > General
6Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Evangelism
8Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Religious Studies > History


Christian Product Categories
Books > Theology > Systematic Theology > Ecclesiology & Church



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Reviews - What do customers think about When Church Became Theatre: The Transformation of Evangelical Architecture and Worship in Nineteenth-Century America?

Fascinating Church History through the Lens of Architecture  Nov 23, 2007
I found the history and illustrations found in this book unforgettable. I think of it every time I drive past a church now because I now understand so much more about what is embedded in the history of different forms of chuch buildings. The aim of the book is to explore the history of American Protestant architecture, but the real meat of the book is a marvelous guide to American church history as a whole. I learned a lot.

A new book that uses Kilde's contribution for understanding a vibrant church is called Hollywood Faith: Holiness, Prosperity, and Ambition in a Los Angeles Church. This church meets in a converted movie theater in Hollywood. The book shows how having church in a theater shapes the religion of the church. I highly recommend it.
 
Entertaining God  Mar 23, 2004
The exterior and interior designs of church structures testify not only to economic standing and technological advances; they also witness to broader cultural changes and to the religious and social motivations of the builders. The disclosure of these motivations-and the meanings and values associated with the buildings themselves-is the subject of Kilde's study of nineteenth-century evangelical architecture. Of particular interest to her are the changing politics of space: statements of power, authority, and relationship (between God, clergy, and laity-and with "the world") made in stone, wood, and glass; the correlation of "sacred" and "secular" designs; and the reciprocal influences between the style or function of worship and the disposition of the space. Although Kilde's study progresses from the Federalist style at the beginning of the nineteenth century, to the Gothic revival at roughly mid century, and to the neomedieval auditorium at century's end, throughout she keeps an eye on the theater-style church and the (internal and external) dynamics that brought its increasing popularity. Particularly interesting was her treatment of buildings associated with revivalist Charles Grandison Finney as a case study on the emergence of the theater design from experiments in the early decades of the century. Helpful as well was her discussion of the ongoing evolution of the theater style as it adjusted to meet the needs of revivalism and of the family-oriented congregation.

Because of her multidisciplinary approach, Kilde's well-researched contribution will be valuable to scholars of architectural history, cultural studies, church history, and liturgical studies. But such a broad approach across fields sometimes results in an overgeneralization of specialist terminology. A liturgical scholar will find troubling the use of "cathedral" to mean a large building, false distinctions between "liturgical" and "non-liturgical," and reference throughout to the congregation as the "audience" even among evangelicals.

 

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