Overview on Iconophile and Iconoclastic Attitudes toward Images in Early Christianity and Late Antiquity
Journal for the Study of Religions and Ideologies 12 (36):228-258 (2013)
AbstractThis study offers an overview of the opposing attitudes towards the image worship in the Early Christianity and the Late Antiquity. It shows that a dichotomy between creation and veneration of images on one side and iconoclastic tendencies on the other side persisted in the Christian tradition throughout the first seven centuries. While the representations of holy figures and holy events increased in number throughout theByzantine Empire, they led to a puritanical reaction by those who saw the practice of image worship as little removed from the anthropomorphic features of polytheistic religious cults. Hence, as the role of images grew so did the resistance against them, and the two contrasting positions in the Christian context initiated the outbreak of the Iconoclastic Controversy, when the theological discourse concerning icons became ever more subtle, culminating in the development of the iconophile and iconoclastic teachings on the holy images. Both the iconophile and the iconoclasts based their apologia on passages from the Synoptic Gospels, evidence of the artistic tradition as well as florilegia or systematic collections of excerpts from the works of the Fathers and other ecclesiastical writers of the early period in support of their claim; much of this evidence is surveyed in this paper, although the Iconoclastic Controversy is not analysed
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