The Story is in the Soil: Faith Set in Stone

Publication Year



Faith, transgression, identity, sacred space, sacred sites, religion


Biblical Studies | Comparative Methodologies and Theories | History of Religion | Religion


It is common for people to have a space that is of special significance to them; a place that is separated from the drudgeries of everyday life; a space that they feel belongs to them. This can be a childhood tree house that others needed permission to enter, to a special room in the house, to a spot traveled to every summer. Humans impart special meaning to those spaces, and identify with them. It is also not uncommon for countries or religions to do the same thing. Part of the religious ritual and cultural practice of the ancient Israelites included building alters by stacking stones to memorialize a site that held religious significance for them. The book of Joshua depicts this saying "...and those twelve stones which they took out of the Jordan, Joshua set up in Gilgal. Then he spoke to the children of Israel, saying, 'When your children ask their fathers in time to come...'What are those stones?' then you shall let your children know saying, '...for the Lord your God dried up the waters of the Jordan before you until you had crossed over, as the Lord your God did to the Red Sea.'" Many significant places are memorialized by a marker which serves as not only a reminder of a special event, but also as a sign of ownership.

Department 1 Awarding Honors Status

Religious Studies

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