Gretchen Buggeln

Gretchen T. Buggeln holds the Phyllis and Richard Duesenberg Chair in Christianity and the Arts at Valparaiso University. She is writing a book titled Faith in Place, defining a vernacular approach to the study of religious architecture.

Articles by Gretchen Buggeln

A Sign of Contradiction

The cross is the most widespread and universal emblem of Christian faith, an image of suffering transformed into a symbol of salvation and hope.


Reformation iconoclasm “stripped the altars” of northern Europe, the story goes, leaving bare and colorless churches in its wake.

Monumental Assembly Halls

In 1955, Per Gustaf Hamberg published in Swedish his Temples for Protestants, an extraordinarily well-researched, nuanced study of the early (sixteenth- and seventeenth-century) Reformed and Lutheran Churches of Northern Europe and Scandinavia. Now, finally, this illuminating and useful book is available in English. As a scholar of early American Protestant architecture, I found myself wishing I had had access to this book years ago. It contains numerous, thorough descriptions of churches and fascinating discussions of important relevant primary texts of the period, many of which are unavailable in English. The translation is fluid, despite minor inaccuracies. Lengthy quotes in Latin, German, French, and Italian are not translated, which is a bit frustrating for the provincial. Nonetheless, this is a necessary book for anyone interested in the religious architecture of this period and its influence on later buildings.