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Wed, February 17, 2021
Start: 01:00 PM
End: 02:00 PM

Presenter: Goran Zivkovic

Paper title: To Shake Place: The Ritual Transformation of Space in the Book of Haggai


The significance of ancient Israel’s space and cultic system and their essential place within the Old Testament tradition, have been long recognized by modern biblical scholars and cannot be underestimated. The book of Haggai represents one of the finest examples of prophetic literature where the interrelationship between space and cult is thoroughly addressed. Previous studies which dealt with this topic usually emphasized the importance of the reconstruction of the temple space as a requirement for ritual practices and neglected the significance of rituals in the production of space.

This paper addresses the topic of the interrelationship between ritual and space in the book of Haggai by having a specific focus on the question of the role of ritual in the construction of space.  Using an approach based in ritual studies (Roland L. Grimes) and critical spatiality (Henri Lefebvre), this paper demonstrates that Haggai purposefully delineates the role of ritual in the construction of God’s, humanity’s, and nature’s space. On one hand felicitous rituals have a purpose to create physical space and establish its ideological function, while on the other hand, infelicitous rituals produce space which is opposed to that ideological portrayal.

The present paper contributes to scholarship in at least two ways: first, the study employs a contemporary ritual theory by Roland L. Grimes and critical spatiality theory as defined by Henri Lefebvre which produces some overlooked insights. Secondly, while scholars emphasize the importance of space in the production of cult, this study argues that Haggai primarily focuses on the importance of rituals in the production of space.

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The MDC Theological Research Seminar (TRS) will be held virtually for the 2020-21 academic year. TRS meets for an hour twice per month on Tuesdays. Each seminar includes about thirty minutes for the paper presentation and twenty minutes for discussion. 

All advanced degree students are invited to present a paper and share your research with your colleagues. TRS is an excellent opportunity to “test drive” a paper you will be presenting at an upcoming conference and receive helpful feedback on your current research projects. Thinking about submitting an article to a journal and want some interaction first? TRS will provide it. Just published an article or an essay and want to share it us? TRS is an excellent opportunity to broadcast it.

This year the organizing committee consists of Dr. Paul Evans, Dr. Michael Knowles, and Dr. Steve Studebaker.