Thomas Beaudoin, Ph.D., professor of religion at the Graduate School of Religion and Religious Education, has been studying the Pantheon in Rome since 2004. He describes his work as part of his examination of under-specified spiritually significant spaces. In other words, spaces that, for some, are spiritually significant and life-altering, while others find them merely enjoyable. The Pantheon, for example, is both a church and a tourist destination.
He received a grant of $200,000 this past September from the Templeton Religion Trust for the Pantheon Research Project. The funding allowed him to return to Rome this past November to prepare a visitor survey that seeks to gauge the variety of experiences. The Pantheon will help promote the survey when it rolls out online next summer. He said his research has implications right here in New York City, where there are several sites that share the same qualities.