Konstantin Akinsha to give paper on “Writing the Fifth Gospel: Interbellum and the beginning of World War II”

The KFG’s fellow Konstantin Akinsha will give a paper at tomorrow’s colloquium series of the Max Weber Centre on his research project. The paper is entitled: “Writing the Fifth Gospel: Interbellum and the beginning of World War II”. It discusses the construction of ecclesiastical buildings on Christian holy places in Mandatory Palestine from 1919 to 1940.

The project is analyzing the notion of the holy places belonging to the sacred geography of the Holy Land. After the establishment of the British Mandate for Palestine, numerous churches and sanctuaries were erected on important biblical sites. Architect Antonio Barluzzi (1884-1960), who created the majority of the new churches developed quite a specific architectural style, which could be defined as the style of emotional illusions. His architecture of experience produced with the help of different tricks and devices does not have comparable examples in the European tradition.

On the eve of World War II, the Catholic authorities dreamed about Italian occupation of Palestine and Rome domination in the Holy Land. Such dreams manifested
themselves in the project of the gigantic Cathedral of the Holy Sepulchre, which had
to replace the old church and to change both the cityscape and structure of Jerusalem forever.

Other parts of the larger research project include:

  • The Age of Empires: Cathedrals as a Fortress and the Marker – Drafting the National Borders in the Holy Land
  • Filling the Void – Italian Architecture in Interbellum Palestine  
  • Who Owns the Tomb of Jesus? 1930s Plans of Reconstruction of the Church of Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem.
  • Saints among the Enemies: Architectural Projects of La Custodia di Terra Santa during the First Decades of the State of Israel.

The paper takes place o nthe 21st of January and starts at 10:15 in the Max Weber Centre, on the seventh Floor. All are welcome!


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