Religious Studies

Research Article

God, pilgrimage, and acknowledgement of place


a1 Department of Theology, University of Exeter, Amory Building, Rennes Drive, Exeter, EX4 4RJ


The paper seeks to address three objections to pilgrimage practices – they are tied to superstitious beliefs (except where they are seen as simply an aid to the imagination), imply a crude experiential or emotional understanding of the nature of faith, and rest upon a primitive conception of divine localizability. In responding to these objections, I argue that the religious significance of places is not reducible to their contribution to religious imagination, experience or understanding. In this sense, relationship to God is not just a matter of thought, but of location.