In the twelfth century, Christians in Europe began to build a completely new kind of church - soaring, spacious monuments flooded with light from immense windows. These were the first Gothic churches, the crowning example of which was the cathedral of Chartres: a revolution in thought embodied in stone and glass, and a bridge between the ancient and modern worlds.
In Universe of Stone, Philip Ball explains the genesis and development of the Gothic style. He argues that it signified a profound change in the social, intellectual and theological climate of Western Christendom. As the church represented nothing less than a vision of heaven on earth, this shift in architectural style marked the beginning of the argument between faith and reason which continues today, and of a scientific view of the world that threatened to dispense with God altogether.
"[Ball] has a knack for translating difficult concepts into lucid prose: he offers a refreshingly sceptical guided tour of Chartres Cathedral and the intellectual contents that helped produce it"
"Lucid and resplendent...a model of explanatory writing"
"Consistently and healthily sceptical ... an intelligent, enjoyable and well-produced book which deserves a wide audience"
"An original and imaginative synthesis of art history and history of science"
"Lucid and resplendent"