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temple

Introduction

temple, edifice or sometimes merely an enclosed area dedicated to the worship of a deity and the enshrinement of holy objects connected with such worship. The temple has been employed in most of the world's religions. Although remains of Egyptian temples of c.2000 BC show well-defined architectural forms, it seems likely that temples were hewed in living rock at a still earlier age: the cave temples of Egypt, India, China, and the Mediterranean basin may be viewed as later developments of such primitive shrines.

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The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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