Production of Christian sacred space in fourth century Jerusalem (335 – 385 CE)
The increased Christian interest in sacred space during late antiquity has been understood as a shift from a more spiritualised practice in early Christianity (the ‘Utopian’) towards a more place-based form of devotion (the ‘Locative’). This transition is acutely apparent in the case of Jerusalem. During the fourth century, in the wake of imperial investment, the city gained unprecedented theological and liturgical importance. However, its development complicated – perhaps even supplanted - the significance of the heavenly Jerusalem ‘above’ that predominated in early Christianity. In this study, I revisit this development with a renewed emphasis on spatiality. By employing terminology and methodology from the works of Jonathan Z. Smith, Henri Lefebvre and Edward Soja, I examine the interrelationship between urban and theological change in fourth century Jerusalem. The first part of this thesis establishes the wider spatial and historical background of Jerusalem from 70 to 385 CE. Then, focusing on the half century after the construction and dedication of a church on Golgotha (335—385 CE), I trace the physical and ideological trajectories of its major religious spaces: Golgotha, Mount Zion, the Mount of Olives, and the Temple Mount. To this end, I highlight the impact of liturgical engagement with the sacred spaces of the Golgotha church in the Catechetical Lectures of Cyril of Jerusalem and the later Mystagogical Catecheses. I then consider the subsequent development of Mount Zion in the context of ecclesiastical advancement and the re-assertion of apostolic origins between the ecumenical councils of Nicaea (325 CE) and Constantinople (381 CE). Thirdly, I highlight the conceptual expansion of Jerusalem through the monastic development and integration of the Mount of Olives. Lastly, I investigate the processes of inversion and erasure at work in Christian representations of the Temple Mount before and after the reign of Julian. The third and final part of this study examines the two accounts of Christian pilgrimage, which effectively bookend this period - the Bordeaux Itinerary and the Itinerary of Egeria - as forms of spatial practice. I examine the degree to which accounts of pilgrimage attest to the significance of Jerusalem, while also composing and conveying sacred topography from the pilgrim’s own perspective to a far-off audience. In conclusion, I revisit the transition from the Utopian to Locative in the case of fourth century Jerusalem. Rather than a discrete transition, I adopt a third possibility: that the real and invisible, earthly and heavenly, historical and eschatological remained intermingled in the Jerusalem of late-antique Christian thought, practice, and place.