In Memoriam Lindsay R. Jones

Dr. Lindsay Jones was indeed a brilliant and notable scholar (a comparative historian of religion right up there next to Mircea Eliade), but more importantly he was a beautiful human being with a divine purpose. While we are all deeply saddened with his passing, I would like to celebrate his life with a memory of appreciation. Lindsay Jones has been a personal friend and mentor of mine for over a decade.

I was first privileged to come to know Lindsay vicariously through his writings found in his masterful and important two-volume series The Hermeneutics of Sacred Architecture. I always appreciated the openness of Lindsay’s work, especially his invitation to “students of architecture and religion…to work, construct, and experiment in whatever ways suit their own purposes.” I took that advice to heart beginning with my undergraduate studies in architecture while designing a conceptual senior project.

selection of ritual contextsDuring my search for an ideal graduate program, Lindsay again played a key role in pointing me in the right direction. During my graduate studies with Julio Bermudez at the Catholic University of America, I continued to experiment and test Lindsay’s work on yet another level to better understand “ritual-architectural events” through survey research. In all my conversations with Lindsay during those formative years, he always assured me that approaching his work from the architect’s perspective would eventually have its advantages in practice since my ultimate desire was to design “real” sacred architecture.

Once I entered professional practice as an architect, I began yet another journey with Lindsay’s work. This time, however, I was engaging in what he termed the “ritual-architectural design process.” Just as he promised to me early on, however, the working knowledge of his framework gained during my education proved to be very helpful in practice. It helped to reconcile competing priorities in the decision-making process as well as how to design sacred spaces ready to facilitate “ritual-architectural events.”


Now that I have entered a new chapter of my life in the realm of academia, I continue to find Lindsay Jones’ work inspiring and beneficial. From teaching students how to engage in “hermeneutical questioning” to seeing the “interrelations between built forms, ritual processes, and human experiences,” Lindsay’s work continues to live on and inspire a new generation of students.

Ritual-Architectural Event

Lindsay Jones was instrumental in not only my own educational and professional development, but his work has inspired a generation of scholars and architects alike. I know that I am not alone in being indebted to Lindsay and the remarkable life he lived. His friendship, mentorship, and scholarship have been a heaven-sent blessing. Lindsay’s work inspired me as a student, an architect, and now it continues to do so as a teacher. Lindsay Jones will be sincerely missed by all of us. In light of his recent passing, I am particularly touched by the profound and revelatory insights that he wrote to me during our last correspondence a few years ago: “perhaps the gods(?) have something else in mind for me.”

Brandon Ro, AIA