In patristic times, when basilicas ruled the earth, a few alternative church plans dotted the landscape. We may regard these designs as Stephen Jay Gould did the Burgess Shale fossils: novel forms that left no progeny. Nevertheless, both the churches and the fossils are beautiful and worthy of contemplation.
Sandra Miesel has written hundreds of articles for the Catholic press, principally on history, art, and hagiography. She holds an M.A. in medieval history and is co-author with Carl Olson of The Da Vinci Hoax (Ignatius 2004).