Explores the magnificent structure of Chartres Cathedral, suggesting its origins lie in Islamic architecture. Also explores how a particular building or space affects us spiritually.
Gordon Strachan, author of Jesus the Master Builder (Floris Books) explores the magnificent structure of Chartres Cathedral, and examines the influences on the medieval master builders.
Using Chartres as a starting point, Dr Strachan suggests that the origins of the Gothic style may lie in Islamic architecture. He goes on to consider how the experience of a particular architectural space affects us, and how sacred geometry works.
Beautifully illustrated, this is an inspiring and informative book for anyone interested in religious architecture and spirituality.
Table of Contents
1. The Islamic Origin of the Pointed Arch
2. Abbot Suger and the Historical Debate
3. St Bernard and the Early Gothic Plan
4. Of Cubes and Ka’aba
5. The Plan of Chartres
6. Dionysius the Areopagite and the Unknown God
7. St Denis, Chartres and the Darkness of God
Endnotes & Bibliography
'Read Gordon Strachan's book and then visit Chartres with an open mind and wide vision, to find personal insight. Illustrated with beautifully prepared drawings.'
-- Clive Hicks, Caduceus, September 2004
'It does not matter if you know nothing of sacred geometry; by the end of this book you will have effortlessly imbued a firm understanding of what it is, and how it is. […] It is a fascinating read. Strachan's clear explanations of measurements, together with excellent graphics, take the reader on a revelatory journey of mystical spirituality.'
-- Logan Lewis-Proudlock, Light magazine, Winter 2003
'An inspiring and informative resource for those interested in religious architecture.'
-- The Beacon, July 2004
'Will delight anybody who recognizes the influence of the built environment. Copious illustrations adorn the text, illuminate the discourse and delight the eye. Gordon Strachan has produced a labour of love, and it shows.'
-- Clement Jewitt, Music and Psyche, 2004
'Quite simply, we have here a magnificent building that was produced by a unique blend of masonic skills, religious ideas and earth energies. To walk through Chartres is indeed to walk through a sacred space.'
-- Fortean Times, April 2004
'Chartres cathedral in France is one of the most important and popular sacred sites in Western Europe. The Rev. Strachan's new study examines the spiritual geometry of the church and suggests its significance is connected to an ancient combination of pagan worship, earth energies and the mystical harmony of Christian and Islamic architecture. Highly recommended.'
-- The Cauldron, August 2003
'Surprisingly, there's no heresy in this book. It's beautifully produced. It opens our eyes to the story of our historic relations with Islam. The deeper theme of seeing God in the darkness as well as the light is important, and so is the link between the geometry of square roots and the mysteriousness of Gothic, and of God. God isn't in a box, and can't be contained.'
The Very Revd Jim Mein, Christ Church Episcopal, Edinburgh
'It is a beautifully illustrated book which explains both the beauty and the geometry of Gothic architecture as seen in Chartres.'
The Rt Revd Brian Smith, Bishop of Edinburgh
'A detailed yet reader-friendly exploration of the mathematics of Pythagorean, early-Christian and Sufi geometry, leading to applications in medieval Gothic architecture. The author ends by stating that people are drawn to explore cathedrals … he feels there is something 'alchemical' in the very architecture of the buildings themselves. I have always felt this and now have a better idea of why. Five pentacles.'
-- Cerridwen Connelly, Pentacle, Winter 2003
Gordon Strachan (1934-2010) was a lecturer, church minister and independent thinker. He is the author of six books: The Pentecostal Theology of Edward Irving; Christ and the Cosmos (later republished as The Bible's Hidden Cosmology); Jesus the Master Builder; Chartres: Sacred Geometry, Sacred Space; The Return of Merlin; and Prophets of Nature.