Looking at the programme of our conference, I could not help feeling overwhelmed by an almost numinously threatening sense of erudition evoked by both the names of the participants and the titles of their papers. Where you cannot hope to compete, you had better stick to your own modest game. My opening presentation, intended to sketch some of the parameters of this week’s deliberations, will therefore be, unabashedly, a string of plagiarisms, quotations and references to the work of others. Already my title is a monumental plagiarism, as will soon become apparent. And, going from bad to worse, I shall begin by rushing in as a religionswissenschaftlicher fool where angels and philosophers fear to tread. For it surely seems odd for an historian of religion to begin his reflections on the theme of our conference with Kant. But his three a priori categories — time, space and causality — happen to be, in a way, the three a prioris of religion. There are, of course, ever so many subcategories of causality underlying (pace Frazer) not merely magic but all ritual and mythology. Commemorating a great historian, our late lamented colleague Joshua Prawer, one might be tempted to make a beeline for time as the framework of history and historicity. We have, however, opted for space — or, more precisely, for “Sacred Space: Shrine, City, Land” — to honour the memory of the great authority on the crusades, the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem and the history of the Holy Land in general.
KeywordsSacred Space Holy Place Chinese Religion Hindu Temple Holy City
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