Icons or idolatry: iconoclasm in the early church
Posted by Marc Cortez
Andreas has graciously posted his recent paper on John of Damascus for your perusal. He provides an interesting summary of the iconoclastic controversy, offering much food for thought on the role of images in contemporary worship. I’d be interested in hearing your comments on Andreas’ paper, or just the idea of icons in general.
Here’s his paper and abstract:
Scholars have pointed to various motives that may have induced the Iconoclastic emperors of the Isaurian dynasty (717-886). These motives have often been characterized as being mainly political: for one, the army was recruited from territories traditionally hostile to, not only the use of icons, but also the dominant Church and its practices (Armenians, Mardiates of Lebanon, Isuarians, Manicheans, Paulicians). Some have suggested that Leo was aiming to stabilize the Empire by suppressing local freedom. Unfortunately, for Leo III, this move seemed to have the opposite effect on the people. It increased the enthusiasm with which the images were defended, and Monks of the monastic movement, who stood for non-conformity, soon took advantage of the situation. They saw the opportunity to shake off the imperial yoke that the Emperor had placed on the Church, once and for all. Finally, considering the heightened presence of Islam, and the ongoing dialogue with Jews, it made sense for the Emperor to suppress or at least limit the use of images.
About Marc CortezTheology Prof and Dean at Western Seminary, husband, father, & blogger, who loves theology, church history, ministry, pop culture, books, and life in general.
Posted on May 12, 2010, in Historical Theology, Uncategorized and tagged iconoclasm, icons, idolatry, idols, John Damascene, John of Damascus, Second Council of Nicea, Seventh Ecumenical Council. Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.