Baptism and sacrifice: cosmogony as private ontology

Nicholas Temple

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Questions concerning the significance and meaning of sacrifice in our secular age, whether in the form of a ritualized or purely contemplative construct, lay bare much that is problematic and troubling about modern consciousness. This paper examines the mortuary significance of baptism and its influence on architecture, drawing comparison between Early Christian and modern views of sacrifice. By referring to key theological writings, the study considers the baptistery as a site of human conversion where the search for redemption unfolds as both a cosmological and mytho-historical drama. The investigation distinguishes between the literal meaning of sacrifice and its more complex Platonic-Christian symbolism, the latter defining the nature of human piety and ultimate spiritual immortality. The study concludes with an examination of the baptismal font at St Peter's in Klippan. It asks whether this seminal work attests to a continuity of symbolic meanings or whether it is the product of hermetic thought.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)47-60
Number of pages14
JournalArchitectural Research Quarterly
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2004
Externally publishedYes


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