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Author Topic: Is this quote genuine?  (Read 675 times) Average Rating: 0
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Ansgar
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« on: July 11, 2013, 05:00:52 PM »

I came upon this quote, supposedly, by St Athanasium the Great, but I'm not sure if it's genuine. I have encountered fake patristic quotes before and would like to be sure.

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We, the faithful, do not worship the icons as gods. By no means as the pagans, rather we are simply expressing our relation to, and the feeling of our love toward, the person whose image is depicted in the icon. Hence, frequently when the image has faded, we burn it in fire, then as plain wood, that which previously was an icon. Just as Jacob, when dying, bowed in worship over the head of the staff of Joseph [cf. Heb. 11:21] not honoring the staff, but him to whom it belonged, in the same manner the faithful, for no other reason, venerate [kiss] the icons, just as we often kiss our children, so that we may plainly express the affection [we feel] in our soul. For it is just as the Jew once worshipped the tablets of the Law and the two golden sculptured Cherubims not to honor the nature of the stone and gold, but the Lord who had given them. (39th Question to Antiochos, PG 94.1365.)
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« Reply #1 on: July 11, 2013, 07:46:01 PM »

What makes you think this quote might not be genuine? (I'm not being snarky here, I'd just like to know)
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« Reply #2 on: July 11, 2013, 08:32:00 PM »

What makes you think this quote might not be genuine? (I'm not being snarky here, I'd just like to know)
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« Reply #3 on: July 11, 2013, 08:41:31 PM »

I could be wrong here, as I didn't do a really detailed search, but a quick look on google brought up four references/quotes of it, all by the same website/blog. It's certainly possible that something not in the popular collections floating around might not have a lot of quotes around the net, but anyway, there it is, if it's so...
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« Reply #4 on: July 11, 2013, 11:25:00 PM »

I don't know for sure. I don't recall St. Athanasius having much to say about icons, but St. John of Damascus did, and the portion you quoted sounds very similar to some of his comments about them. I wonder if the place you got the quote from misattributed it to St. Athanasius?
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« Reply #5 on: July 12, 2013, 01:43:36 AM »

What makes you think this quote might not be genuine? (I'm not being snarky here, I'd just like to know)

A mere suspicion. I once found another quote, concerning icons, supposedly from St Basil the Great, but when I asked about it, I was told that it was a later forgery.
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« Reply #6 on: July 12, 2013, 01:45:19 AM »

I don't know for sure. I don't recall St. Athanasius having much to say about icons, but St. John of Damascus did, and the portion you quoted sounds very similar to some of his comments about them. I wonder if the place you got the quote from misattributed it to St. Athanasius?


You can see the website here:

http://classicalchristianity.com/category/iconography/
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« Reply #7 on: July 12, 2013, 05:02:15 AM »

It is quoted by St. John Damascene in his Third Oration on the Holy Images. The quote is from St. Athanasius' Doctrina ad Antiochum ducem. Nowadays this work is regarded as spurious. You can find it here.

If you can read French, this is an interesting essay about the Doctrina and question 39 specifically.
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« Reply #8 on: July 12, 2013, 05:42:59 AM »

"PG 94.1365" included in the quote indicates the source: Patrologia Graeca, volume 94 and this volume contains St. John Damascene's works - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patrologia_Graeca
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« Reply #9 on: July 12, 2013, 05:45:50 AM »

"PG 94.1365" included in the quote indicates the source: Patrologia Graeca, volume 94 and this volume contains St. John Damascene's works - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patrologia_Graeca

Indeed. When you go to page 1365, however, you'll see that it is part of St. John's patristic florilegium to prove that the veneration of icons is okay. One of the quotes on page 1365 is Pseudo-Athanasius' question 39 which refers back to the Doctrina ad Antiochum ducem
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« Reply #10 on: July 12, 2013, 09:37:49 AM »

So, in other words, it shouldn't be considered a valid evidense for early veneration?
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« Reply #11 on: July 12, 2013, 09:46:09 AM »

So, in other words, it shouldn't be considered a valid evidense for early veneration?

That's one way to put it. This Pseudo-Athanasius lived in the 7th century.
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« Reply #12 on: July 12, 2013, 11:13:59 AM »

What about the tradtion of St. Luke the iconographer, is it valid? There is possible linkage to this in Colossians since St. Paul mentions the Lord Jesus Christ as the icon of the living God (Col. 1:15) & St. Luke is mentioned as a fellow traveling disciple in St. Paul's company (Col. 4:14).
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« Reply #13 on: July 12, 2013, 11:24:24 AM »

What about the tradtion of St. Luke the iconographer, is it valid?

I don't know. I wasn't there.
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« Reply #14 on: July 12, 2013, 11:26:57 AM »

What about the tradtion of St. Luke the iconographer, is it valid? There is possible linkage to this in Colossians since St. Paul mentions the Lord Jesus Christ as the icon of the living God (Col. 1:15) & St. Luke is mentioned as a fellow traveling disciple in St. Paul's company (Col. 4:14).

Every reference to this in the Fathers that I can remember take it in a theological or anthropological sense, ie. that Christ is the image of God, therefore man is the image of the image, etc., not in a iconographical sense.
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« Reply #15 on: July 12, 2013, 01:26:43 PM »

"PG 94.1365" included in the quote indicates the source: Patrologia Graeca, volume 94 and this volume contains St. John Damascene's works - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patrologia_Graeca

Indeed. When you go to page 1365, however, you'll see that it is part of St. John's patristic florilegium to prove that the veneration of icons is okay. One of the quotes on page 1365 is Pseudo-Athanasius' question 39 which refers back to the Doctrina ad Antiochum ducem
Thanks for clarification. I wanted only to notice that the quote in itself contained a clue Smiley
What about the tradtion of St. Luke the iconographer, is it valid? There is possible linkage to this in Colossians since St. Paul mentions the Lord Jesus Christ as the icon of the living God (Col. 1:15) & St. Luke is mentioned as a fellow traveling disciple in St. Paul's company (Col. 4:14).
Who knows? Some make conjectures that there are icons of Theotokos ascribed to him which follow styles of painting popular in the first century in Antioch and Alexandria. They connect it with a supposition that Luke as a physician would have learned his profession in Alexandria, but in general he was working in Antioch and he gave us probably first hand relation about Jesus' infancy from the Mother of God in his Gospel. Combining all those guesses makes him a nice candidate for the author of at least some prototype of our iconography.
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« Reply #16 on: July 12, 2013, 01:34:19 PM »

What about the tradtion of St. Luke the iconographer, is it valid?

I don't know. I wasn't there.

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« Reply #17 on: July 21, 2013, 10:30:57 PM »

Moderator, why did you move this thread when it was put in the free for all?
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« Reply #18 on: July 21, 2013, 10:31:59 PM »

Moderator, why did you move this thread when it was put in the free for all?

Because people are not allowed to post there. See this thread.
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