The Built Narrative as Architectural History

By Tessa Morrison.

Published by The International Journal of Literary Humanities

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The city authorities of Sao Paulo, Brazil have approved the construction of a temple that is claimed by church officials to be the replica of Solomon’s Temple. It is intended, by church officials, to be the most dominant religious monument of Brazil and will be twice the height of Rio’s Christ the Redeemer statue. However, it is not built to the Biblical proportions of the Temple of Solomon nor does it have any of the features of Solomon’s Temple specified in the Bible. The planned temple is in fact very similar to the temple of Herod, which was built over 550 years after the Temple of Solomon; yet, the church officials continue to call it a replica of Solomon’s Temple and do not acknowledge Herod in any way. This paper first examines the plan of the temple to be built in Sao Paulo by comparing it to the Biblical description of the Temple of Solomon. Second, the paper considers two examples of a narrative being written into the plan of the Temple of Solomon, from the sixteenth century, Juan Bautista Villalpando and then from the eighteen century a reconstruction from John Wood of Bath. Both Villalpando and Wood ‘manipulated’ the Biblical plan of Solomon’s Temple to ‘write’ a narrative into the ground plan of the Temple. Thus the architecture of the Temple became entwined with that narrative. Finally, the paper considers the built narrative as architecture in light of the Sao Paulo’s ‘replica.’

Keywords: Architectural History, The Temple of Solomon

The International Journal of Literary Humanities, Volume 10, Issue 1, pp.1-18. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 2.636MB).

Dr. Tessa Morrison

Research Fellow in Architectural History, The School of Architecture and Built Environment, The University of Newcastle, Callaghan, NSW, Australia

Dr. Morrison has a background in art, mathematics and philosophy. She is currently working as a researcher in the School of Architecture and Built Environment at The University of Newcastle and has published extensively on geometric and spatial symbolism.