Lindsay Jones

Lindsay Jones

Lindsay Jones

Emeritus Professor

Areas of Expertise

  • History of Religions
  • Theory, Methods and History of Religious Studies
  • Comparative Sacred Architecture
  • Myth and Ritual Studies
  • Cultures and Religions of Mesoamerica


  • B.ENVD. in Environmental Design, University of Colorado
  • B.A. in Religious Studies and Anthropology, University of Colorado
  • M.A. in Divinity, University of Chicago
  • Ph.D. in History of Religions, University of Chicago


Lindsay Jones is a historian of religions, a professor emeritus in the Department of Comparative Studies, a former director of the Ohio State Center for the Study of Religion, former Gaikokujin Kyoshi (Visiting Foreign Professor) at the University of Tsukuba in Japan, and recipient of the “Mircea Eliade Centennial” medal, awarded by the President of Romania “as a sign of appreciation for praiseworthy activity and remarkable contribution to the history of religions.”  He has a broad interest in the methods, theories, histories, and topics associated with the cross-cultural study of religion; a similarly broad interest in sacred architectures the world over; and a more specific interest in the cultures and religions of Mesoamerica, especially those of the Oaxaca region.

He is author of The Hermeneutics of Sacred Architecture: Experience, Interpretation, Comparison, two volumes (Harvard University Press, 2000), which was reissued in 2016 by the ABC International Group as a set of seven slim books:  (I.1) The Experience of Architecture, (I.2) The Mechanism of Architecture, (I.3) The Interpretation of Architecture, (I.4) The Comparison of Architecture, (II.1), Architecture as Orientation, (II.2) Architecture as Commemoration and (II.3) Architecture as Ritual Context. Additionally he is author of Twin City Tales: A Hermeneutical Reassessment of Tula and Chichén Itzá (University Press of Colorado, 1995); co-editor with Davíd Carrasco and Scott Sessions of Mesoamerica’s Classic Heritage: From Teotihuacan to the Aztecs (University Press of Colorado, 1999); and co-editor with Richard D. Shiels of The Newark Earthworks: Enduring Monuments, Contested Meanings (University of Virginia Press, 2016).

He devoted several years to work as the editor-in-chief for a heavily revised second edition of Mircea Eliade’s sixteen-volume Encyclopedia of Religion (Macmillan, 1987), the standard reference work in the field.  Of the more than 3200 articles by some 2000 different contributors in that revised Encyclopedia of Religion (Macmillan Reference, 2005), roughly a third are entirely new and most other entries are substantially updated; it was awarded “best reference source in any category” for 2005 by the American Library Association.

His current project involves a three-book set that addresses different aspects of the religion and architecture of the southern Mexican archaeological-tourist site of Monte Albán, Oaxaca.  The first of those volumes, Narrating Monte Albán: Seven True Stories of the Great Zapotec Capital of Southern Mexico, is complete (and the manuscript is available at the second, The Religion of Monte Albán: Reflections on an Enduring Work of Sacred Architecture in Oaxaca, Mexico is in process (and the first 1000 pages of the manuscript are also available at; the third book, tentatively entitled The History of a Ruin: The Ongoing Life of a Long-Abandoned pre-Columbian Capital in Southern Mexico, which will address the status and import of the Monte Albán “ruins” during colonial, modern and contemporary eras, is in earlier stages of preparation.