Author Topic: Protestants and Icons  (Read 25411 times)

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Offline deusveritasest

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Re: Protestants and Icons
« Reply #90 on: January 08, 2010, 06:51:18 AM »

He came in the flesh, did not become flesh or else the divinity suffers and dies which is the "M-word" heresy nobody except Copts and OO sympathize with. "As Surely as YHWH Lives" First words a Jewish scribe would write on a scroll before asking for the blessing that his work be an accurate rendering of scriptures. The good scribes too.

Are you comfortable saying that the Logos took on flesh as His own and perfectly subsisted in it without mention of Him being converted to be flesh?
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Offline Liz

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Re: Protestants and Icons
« Reply #91 on: January 08, 2010, 07:44:22 AM »
This discussion is fascinating and I'm hesitant to break the flow, so please feel free to ignore this. But I'm looking at all of these pictures people have posted and this question of whether or not Jews had icons, whether an icon of Christ is an image of the Father ... what I'd like to know is, what is the difference between a picture and an icon? I know icons are made in a special way, blessed (is that right?) and venerated in a special way. And they are meant to conform to particular representational rules, aren't they?

But still ... at what point does an icon take on something that differentiates it from a religious picture?

Offline jnorm888

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Re: Protestants and Icons
« Reply #92 on: January 08, 2010, 08:00:43 AM »
This discussion is fascinating and I'm hesitant to break the flow, so please feel free to ignore this. But I'm looking at all of these pictures people have posted and this question of whether or not Jews had icons, whether an icon of Christ is an image of the Father ... what I'd like to know is, what is the difference between a picture and an icon? I know icons are made in a special way, blessed (is that right?) and venerated in a special way. And they are meant to conform to particular representational rules, aren't they?

But still ... at what point does an icon take on something that differentiates it from a religious picture?

A picture is "secularism"
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-439856437001382026&ei=oxxHS8vOMY-OqAKvvriFAg&q=the+protestant+revolution&hl=en# (The Protestant Revolution Part 3: A Reformation of the Mind)

Also, if you read the book, "The Bible, Protestantism, and the rise of natural science" then you will see some of the connections of why the modern age in the west is mostly Atheistic. This will also help you understand why the ancient world saw things(nature) differently.



Just as the ancients had a 3 or 4 tier system of Biblical interpretation, they also had a multi-layered interpretation in regards to nature as well.



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« Last Edit: January 08, 2010, 08:07:26 AM by jnorm888 »
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Offline ozgeorge

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Re: Protestants and Icons
« Reply #93 on: January 08, 2010, 08:38:07 AM »
what is the difference between a picture and an icon?
In Greek, there is no difference. The word for icon is "Εικονα" ("eikona", pronounced "Ee-ko-nah") and means simply "image".
A painting or photograph of a tree is an "eikona" (image) of a tree.
« Last Edit: January 08, 2010, 08:44:31 AM by ozgeorge »
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Offline LBK

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Re: Protestants and Icons
« Reply #94 on: January 08, 2010, 08:47:04 AM »
what is the difference between a picture and an icon?
In Greek, there is no difference. The word for icon is "Εικονα" (Ee-ko-na) and means simply "image".
A painting or photograph of a tree is an "eikona" (image) of a tree.

This explanation is incomplete and not very useful, as it does not allow for context. Taking the word icon as used in modern English, does this mean that a computer icon is an image worthy of veneration? Of course not.
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Offline Liz

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Re: Protestants and Icons
« Reply #95 on: January 08, 2010, 08:59:39 AM »
This discussion is fascinating and I'm hesitant to break the flow, so please feel free to ignore this. But I'm looking at all of these pictures people have posted and this question of whether or not Jews had icons, whether an icon of Christ is an image of the Father ... what I'd like to know is, what is the difference between a picture and an icon? I know icons are made in a special way, blessed (is that right?) and venerated in a special way. And they are meant to conform to particular representational rules, aren't they?

But still ... at what point does an icon take on something that differentiates it from a religious picture?

A picture is "secularism"
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-439856437001382026&ei=oxxHS8vOMY-OqAKvvriFAg&q=the+protestant+revolution&hl=en# (The Protestant Revolution Part 3: A Reformation of the Mind)

Also, if you read the book, "The Bible, Protestantism, and the rise of natural science" then you will see some of the connections of why the modern age in the west is mostly Atheistic. This will also help you understand why the ancient world saw things(nature) differently.



Just as the ancients had a 3 or 4 tier system of Biblical interpretation, they also had a multi-layered interpretation in regards to nature as well.



ICXC NIKA

Thanks, Jnorm. I'll try to get to that book but, obviously, if I were to do this properly I'd need to spend a year or so reading not just that book, but lots of others - something I should do, but maybe not yet! I'm familiar with interpretation in the 4 types, but I don't understand exactly how this explains icons?

Offline ozgeorge

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Re: Protestants and Icons
« Reply #96 on: January 08, 2010, 09:01:07 AM »
what is the difference between a picture and an icon?
In Greek, there is no difference. The word for icon is "Εικονα" (Ee-ko-na) and means simply "image".
A painting or photograph of a tree is an "eikona" (image) of a tree.

This explanation is incomplete and not very useful, as it does not allow for context. Taking the word icon as used in modern English, does this mean that a computer icon is an image worthy of veneration? Of course not.
No, my non-Greek friend. But by the same token, an icon on a computer screen desktop is called an icon in English just an an image of Christ is called an icon. The word simply means "image". Now if you want to venerate an image of a fox such as this firefox icon, go right ahead:

What makes the images that Orthodox Christians venerate is not how they are made, but rather, the hypostasis they depict. Both of these things below are icons, but Orthodox Christians will only venerate one of them (guess which one ;) ):


« Last Edit: January 08, 2010, 09:06:28 AM by ozgeorge »
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Offline LBK

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Re: Protestants and Icons
« Reply #97 on: January 08, 2010, 09:39:00 AM »
No, my non-Greek friend. But by the same token, an icon on a computer screen desktop is called an icon in English just an an image of Christ is called an icon. The word simply means "image". Now if you want to venerate an image of a fox such as this firefox icon, go right ahead:

I'm disappointed with your post, ozgeorge. You seem have misunderstood what I wrote. Or chose to do so.  ::)
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Offline ialmisry

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Re: Protestants and Icons
« Reply #98 on: January 08, 2010, 09:44:45 AM »
This discussion is fascinating and I'm hesitant to break the flow, so please feel free to ignore this. But I'm looking at all of these pictures people have posted and this question of whether or not Jews had icons, whether an icon of Christ is an image of the Father ... what I'd like to know is, what is the difference between a picture and an icon? I know icons are made in a special way, blessed (is that right?) and venerated in a special way. And they are meant to conform to particular representational rules, aren't they?

But still ... at what point does an icon take on something that differentiates it from a religious picture?
The icon has a symbolic component in it (e.g. the halo) that has to be conveyed. It's the reason why a photograph of say, St. Tikhon, is not an icon of St. Tikhon.  St. John is shown with wings (since he is greater than any man born of a woman, with the obvious exception) although no one believes he had them.  Sort of liking seeing, but on all the wavelengths.  A picture wouldn't have the halo or the wings.  A religious picture can portray how someone sees a certain scene or person, the icon shows how the Church sees the scene or person.  (compare the pictures of the Healing of the paralytic I've posted above with this)

And with a less common icon


Btw, on this there is an interesting spot on the roof around Galilee:
http://www.ritmeyer.com/2007/03/
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Offline ozgeorge

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Re: Protestants and Icons
« Reply #99 on: January 08, 2010, 09:48:44 AM »
I'm disappointed with your post, ozgeorge. You seem have misunderstood what I wrote. Or chose to do so. 

Perhaps you missed the rest of it (or chose to):

What makes the images that Orthodox Christians venerate is not how they are made, but rather, the hypostasis they depict. Both of these things below are icons, but Orthodox Christians will only venerate one of them (guess which one ;) ):



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Offline Liz

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Re: Protestants and Icons
« Reply #100 on: January 08, 2010, 10:03:06 AM »
But, Ialmisry, a picture can be symbolic too, surely? You say that:

Quote
A religious picture can portray how someone sees a certain scene or person, the icon shows how the Church sees the scene or person.

But pictures aren't just quasi-photographic records, are they? That's a very small slice out of art history.


Offline ozgeorge

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Re: Protestants and Icons
« Reply #101 on: January 08, 2010, 10:10:15 AM »
The icon has a symbolic component in it (e.g. the halo) that has to be conveyed. It's the reason why a photograph of say, St. Tikhon, is not an icon of St. Tikhon.  
What about the Icon "Not-Made-With-Hands" (the Holy Mandylion)? This criterion you suggest would exclude it from being an Icon: http://img101.imageshack.us/img101/1107/5642iid.jpg

St. John is shown with wings (since he is greater than any man born of a woman, with the obvious exception) although no one believes he had them.
Actually, St. John the Baptist is depicted with wings because of Matthew 11:10, Mark 1:2 and Luke 7:27:
‘ Behold, I send My messenger before Your face,Who will prepare Your way before You.’
In Greek "messenger" is "aggelos" (Angel).
« Last Edit: January 08, 2010, 10:11:09 AM by ozgeorge »
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Offline yochanan

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Re: Protestants and Icons
« Reply #102 on: January 08, 2010, 10:14:48 AM »
Just to ask: what exactly does the Cherubim look like in Jewish temples?  :-\
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Offline Tallitot

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Re: Protestants and Icons
« Reply #103 on: January 08, 2010, 10:19:54 AM »
I'm not sure anyone knows exactly what the cherubim looked like in the Temple.
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Offline HandmaidenofGod

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Re: Protestants and Icons
« Reply #104 on: January 08, 2010, 10:22:05 AM »
But, Ialmisry, a picture can be symbolic too, surely? You say that:

Quote
A religious picture can portray how someone sees a certain scene or person, the icon shows how the Church sees the scene or person.

But pictures aren't just quasi-photographic records, are they? That's a very small slice out of art history.

Of course pictures and religious paintings can contain symbolism. Anyone who's taken an "Intro to Art" class will agree with you on that point.

So what makes an icon an icon, and not just another religious painting? The first thing would be that the iconographer (the person "writing" the icon) is following the canons established by the VII Ecumenical Council. This includes the two-dimensional style figures, and that no shadows are included in the icon. (An icon is to give off light, not receive light.) Another element to iconography is that the icon is not to be a reflection of the iconographer's personal ego or "style" but is to be consistant with the icons painted before him. Now while it is true that each iconographer will have his own little twist on things (after all, we are human) it's not to be immediately apparant.

For example, when one sees a painting by Caravaggio, one immediately knows "Oh, that's a painting by Caravaggio, and not Michelangelo." With iconography, it's not about the artist -- it's about the subject matter. One is focused on what is being potrayed, not who is potraying it.

Icons are not to be signed. (This made my paper on Andrei Rublev this past semester extremely difficult btw! lol)

A really good book to read (that isn't that long) is Pavel Florensky's Iconostasis. It's only about 300 pages long, and unlike many other books on Orthodoxy, the text is not dry, and is extremely interesting to read. The other good thing is that it's available in Paperback, so it's not too pricey. (I checked, and it's available on amazon.co.uk)

I hope this helps clarify some things.  :)
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Offline yochanan

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Re: Protestants and Icons
« Reply #105 on: January 08, 2010, 10:24:55 AM »
I'm not sure anyone knows exactly what the cherubim looked like in the Temple.

Do you know? Do any of your Rabbis know? Does your tradition say anything?

But surely, there is/are Cherubim right? And those Cherubim were not regarded as idols most certainly.
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Offline ozgeorge

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Re: Protestants and Icons
« Reply #106 on: January 08, 2010, 10:25:43 AM »
Just to ask: what exactly does the Cherubim look like in Jewish temples?  :-\
What we know about them comes from Exodus 24:18-22 and Exodus 25:40 (LXX). There were two carved statues of cherubim on the lid of the Ark of the Covenant which faced each other and their wings stretched towards each other. So we know that they had faces and wings. There were also ten curtains which hung at the entrance of the Holy of Holies, and each curtain had a cherubim on it.
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Offline yochanan

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Re: Protestants and Icons
« Reply #107 on: January 08, 2010, 10:31:15 AM »
Just to ask: what exactly does the Cherubim look like in Jewish temples?  :-\
What we know about them comes from Exodus 24:18-22 and Exodus 25:40 (LXX). There were two carved statues of cherubim on the lid of the Ark of the Covenant which faced each other and their wings stretched towards each other. So we know that they had faces and wings. There were also ten curtains which hung at the entrance of the Holy of Holies, and each curtain had a cherubim on it.

Were they subject to veneration? :o
Does the Talmud or "Jewish Fathers" say anything?
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Offline ozgeorge

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Re: Protestants and Icons
« Reply #108 on: January 08, 2010, 10:34:12 AM »
Just to ask: what exactly does the Cherubim look like in Jewish temples?  :-\
What we know about them comes from Exodus 24:18-22 and Exodus 25:40 (LXX). There were two carved statues of cherubim on the lid of the Ark of the Covenant which faced each other and their wings stretched towards each other. So we know that they had faces and wings. There were also ten curtains which hung at the entrance of the Holy of Holies, and each curtain had a cherubim on it.

Were they subject to veneration? :o
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Offline Justin Kissel

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Re: Protestants and Icons
« Reply #109 on: January 08, 2010, 10:39:22 AM »
The Ark of the Covenant and its contents was the most holy object in the Temple and the Holy of Holies where it sat was the most sacred place on Earth.

Wasn't that the place where only one guy in the entire world could go in, and they tied a rope to him in case he died inside, so they could pull him out? That must have been some heavy duty venerating!  ;)

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Re: Protestants and Icons
« Reply #110 on: January 08, 2010, 10:57:43 AM »
Wasn't that the place where only one guy in the entire world could go in, and they tied a rope to him in case he died inside, so they could pull him out? That must have been some heavy duty venerating!  ;)
LOL! Thats right. Only the High Priest could enter the Holy of Holies and only on one day of the year (Yom Kippur- The Day of Atonement).
I didn't know about the rope thing!
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Re: Protestants and Icons
« Reply #111 on: January 08, 2010, 11:00:15 AM »
The Ark of the Covenant and its contents was the most holy object in the Temple and the Holy of Holies where it sat was the most sacred place on Earth.

Wasn't that the place where only one guy in the entire world could go in, and they tied a rope to him in case he died inside, so they could pull him out? That must have been some heavy duty venerating!  ;)

Is that in the Bible?
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Offline Justin Kissel

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Re: Protestants and Icons
« Reply #112 on: January 08, 2010, 11:04:58 AM »
Actually, after looking around the net for info on it, the rope things appears to just be a legend.  :angel:

Offline ozgeorge

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Re: Protestants and Icons
« Reply #113 on: January 08, 2010, 11:11:14 AM »
The Ark of the Covenant and its contents was the most holy object in the Temple and the Holy of Holies where it sat was the most sacred place on Earth.

Wasn't that the place where only one guy in the entire world could go in, and they tied a rope to him in case he died inside, so they could pull him out? That must have been some heavy duty venerating!  ;)

Is that in the Bible?
Yes Exodus 30:10, Leviticus 23:27-32, Leviticus 25:9, Numbers 29:7-11, Leviticus 16:1-34 .
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Re: Protestants and Icons
« Reply #114 on: January 08, 2010, 11:13:13 AM »
The Ark of the Covenant and its contents was the most holy object in the Temple and the Holy of Holies where it sat was the most sacred place on Earth.

Wasn't that the place where only one guy in the entire world could go in, and they tied a rope to him in case he died inside, so they could pull him out? That must have been some heavy duty venerating!  ;)

Is that in the Bible?

Although bells were attached to the priest, there is no verse in the Bible that says a rope was tied to his foot. I'm not sure if the "rope theory" is oral tradition or a biblical assumption.
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Re: Protestants and Icons
« Reply #115 on: January 08, 2010, 11:21:46 AM »
The Ark of the Covenant and its contents was the most holy object in the Temple and the Holy of Holies where it sat was the most sacred place on Earth.

Wasn't that the place where only one guy in the entire world could go in, and they tied a rope to him in case he died inside, so they could pull him out? That must have been some heavy duty venerating!  ;)

Is that in the Bible?

Although bells were attached to the priest, there is no verse in the Bible that says a rope was tied to his foot. I'm not sure if the "rope theory" is oral tradition or a biblical assumption.

 :)
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Offline ozgeorge

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Re: Protestants and Icons
« Reply #116 on: January 08, 2010, 11:38:52 AM »
Sorry. I didn't realize you were asking about the rope yochanan, I thought you were asking whether the High Priest was the only one alowed to enter the Holy of Holies.
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Re: Protestants and Icons
« Reply #117 on: January 08, 2010, 11:47:08 AM »
Sorry. I didn't realize you were asking about the rope yochanan, I thought you were asking whether the High Priest was the only one alowed to enter the Holy of Holies.

No problem. Hey, where did you get the idea of the rope? Can you give me a link? It would surely support icon-veneration. Its a very strong argument because its from the OT: a direct command from the LORD.  ;D
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Re: Protestants and Icons
« Reply #118 on: January 08, 2010, 12:37:35 PM »
Sorry. I didn't realize you were asking about the rope yochanan, I thought you were asking whether the High Priest was the only one alowed to enter the Holy of Holies.

No problem. Hey, where did you get the idea of the rope? Can you give me a link? It would surely support icon-veneration. Its a very strong argument because its from the OT: a direct command from the LORD.  ;
It wasn't my idea. I'd never heard of it before:
LOL! Thats right. Only the High Priest could enter the Holy of Holies and only on one day of the year (Yom Kippur- The Day of Atonement).
I didn't know about the rope thing!
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Offline Liz

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Re: Protestants and Icons
« Reply #119 on: January 08, 2010, 12:42:40 PM »
But, Ialmisry, a picture can be symbolic too, surely? You say that:

Quote
A religious picture can portray how someone sees a certain scene or person, the icon shows how the Church sees the scene or person.

But pictures aren't just quasi-photographic records, are they? That's a very small slice out of art history.

Of course pictures and religious paintings can contain symbolism. Anyone who's taken an "Intro to Art" class will agree with you on that point.

So what makes an icon an icon, and not just another religious painting? The first thing would be that the iconographer (the person "writing" the icon) is following the canons established by the VII Ecumenical Council. This includes the two-dimensional style figures, and that no shadows are included in the icon. (An icon is to give off light, not receive light.) Another element to iconography is that the icon is not to be a reflection of the iconographer's personal ego or "style" but is to be consistant with the icons painted before him. Now while it is true that each iconographer will have his own little twist on things (after all, we are human) it's not to be immediately apparant.

For example, when one sees a painting by Caravaggio, one immediately knows "Oh, that's a painting by Caravaggio, and not Michelangelo." With iconography, it's not about the artist -- it's about the subject matter. One is focused on what is being potrayed, not who is potraying it.

Icons are not to be signed. (This made my paper on Andrei Rublev this past semester extremely difficult btw! lol)

A really good book to read (that isn't that long) is Pavel Florensky's Iconostasis. It's only about 300 pages long, and unlike many other books on Orthodoxy, the text is not dry, and is extremely interesting to read. The other good thing is that it's available in Paperback, so it's not too pricey. (I checked, and it's available on amazon.co.uk)

I hope this helps clarify some things.  :)

Ah, should have know to ask you first off! But, I work with medieval Books of Hours. I think the pictures aren't always considered to be icons, exactly - especially those that show non-Biblical, traditional scenes. And the illuminators don't usually sign their work, nor can you easily tell which pictures are by whom. You certainly can't look and say, 'Oh, yes, that's the Master of the Douai Psalter' - you can make a guess, but I suspect it's as easy as telling what was by Rublev and what wasn't. So why aren't these pictures icons? Or are they?

Btw - Maureen, you won't have seen this since it was in the UK, but did anyone else catch the documentary series on the art of Russia over Christmas?

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Re: Protestants and Icons
« Reply #120 on: January 08, 2010, 12:52:25 PM »
This includes the two-dimensional style figures, and that no shadows are included in the icon. (An icon is to give off light, not receive light.)
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Re: Protestants and Icons
« Reply #121 on: January 08, 2010, 12:54:25 PM »
Ah, should have know to ask you first off! But, I work with medieval Books of Hours. I think the pictures aren't always considered to be icons, exactly - especially those that show non-Biblical, traditional scenes. And the illuminators don't usually sign their work, nor can you easily tell which pictures are by whom. You certainly can't look and say, 'Oh, yes, that's the Master of the Douai Psalter' - you can make a guess, but I suspect it's as easy as telling what was by Rublev and what wasn't. So why aren't these pictures icons? Or are they?

Btw - Maureen, you won't have seen this since it was in the UK, but did anyone else catch the documentary series on the art of Russia over Christmas?

It's quite possible that what your are describing could be a form of iconography. After all, Orthodoxy does recognize that Christianity did have different forms of expression, even prior to the schism. (After all, I'm sure the Liturgy St. Patrick of Ireland used was a bit different than say, a saint in Greece at the same time.)

Usually what we refer to in Orthodoxy is in relation to Byzantine Iconography and it's child, Russian/Slavic Iconography. I know that within Western Rite Orthodoxy they do use statues, and have a more Western look to their religious artwork.

As I'm still in Atlanta I don't have my books on iconography with me, but I can check into it when I get back to NJ.
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Re: Protestants and Icons
« Reply #122 on: January 08, 2010, 12:56:07 PM »
But, Ialmisry, a picture can be symbolic too, surely? You say that:

Quote
A religious picture can portray how someone sees a certain scene or person, the icon shows how the Church sees the scene or person.

But pictures aren't just quasi-photographic records, are they? That's a very small slice out of art history.



We have examples of realistic art from the same time of ancient icons, but the Church chose iconography instead of such art.  So it is a much larger slice. The whole pie actually.

In religious art the artist expresses his own personal faith.  The iconographer has conventions he must attend to, because he expresses the Faith of the Church.

The are, of course, photographs that are said to be "iconic."  They still only portray the visible spectrum: iconic quality is envoked, rather than portrayed.
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Re: Protestants and Icons
« Reply #123 on: January 08, 2010, 12:59:46 PM »
Ah, should have know to ask you first off! But, I work with medieval Books of Hours. I think the pictures aren't always considered to be icons, exactly - especially those that show non-Biblical, traditional scenes. And the illuminators don't usually sign their work, nor can you easily tell which pictures are by whom. You certainly can't look and say, 'Oh, yes, that's the Master of the Douai Psalter' - you can make a guess, but I suspect it's as easy as telling what was by Rublev and what wasn't. So why aren't these pictures icons? Or are they?

Btw - Maureen, you won't have seen this since it was in the UK, but did anyone else catch the documentary series on the art of Russia over Christmas?

It's quite possible that what your are describing could be a form of iconography. After all, Orthodoxy does recognize that Christianity did have different forms of expression, even prior to the schism. (After all, I'm sure the Liturgy St. Patrick of Ireland used was a bit different than say, a saint in Greece at the same time.)

Usually what we refer to in Orthodoxy is in relation to Byzantine Iconography and it's child, Russian/Slavic Iconography. I know that within Western Rite Orthodoxy they do use statues, and have a more Western look to their religious artwork.

As I'm still in Atlanta I don't have my books on iconography with me, but I can check into it when I get back to NJ.

Thanks, Maureen. I think this is one of these things I just need to spend plenty of time thinking about. I don't 'get' icons on some level that isn't really to do with theology, and maybe I'm asking the wrong questions when I ask what is/isn't an icon. Mind you, I wish I could understand it better, then I'd understand my own thesis a whole lot more!

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Re: Protestants and Icons
« Reply #124 on: January 08, 2010, 01:03:54 PM »
But, Ialmisry, a picture can be symbolic too, surely? You say that:

Quote
A religious picture can portray how someone sees a certain scene or person, the icon shows how the Church sees the scene or person.

But pictures aren't just quasi-photographic records, are they? That's a very small slice out of art history.



We have examples of realistic art from the same time of ancient icons, but the Church chose iconography instead of such art.  So it is a much larger slice. The whole pie actually.

In religious art the artist expresses his own personal faith.  The iconographer has conventions he must attend to, because he expresses the Faith of the Church.

The are, of course, photographs that are said to be "iconic."  They still only portray the visible spectrum: iconic quality is envoked, rather than portrayed.

Sorry, I didn't express myself clearly. I meant, there's plenty of art that is non-realistic, whilst also being non-iconic. Is anything that expresses religious faith in a symbolic matter an icon?

What pictures were you thinking of when you said that artists express their own personal faith in religious art?

Btw, I love the idea that the 'iconic quality is evoked, rather than portrayed'. That makes a lot of sense.

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Re: Protestants and Icons
« Reply #125 on: January 08, 2010, 01:12:29 PM »
This discussion is fascinating and I'm hesitant to break the flow, so please feel free to ignore this. But I'm looking at all of these pictures people have posted and this question of whether or not Jews had icons, whether an icon of Christ is an image of the Father ... what I'd like to know is, what is the difference between a picture and an icon? I know icons are made in a special way, blessed (is that right?) and venerated in a special way. And they are meant to conform to particular representational rules, aren't they?

But still ... at what point does an icon take on something that differentiates it from a religious picture?

At its most fundamental there is nothing that differentiates an 'icon' from a religious picture. What differentiates a 'Holy Icon' from a computer icon (in English) or an eikona/image of Christ from an eikona/image of a tree in Greek is the subject matter.

The underlying principal is that the respect (or disrepect) shown to an image transfers to the subject of the image. So if I throw darts at an image of the President (whether that's a photograph or a somewhat abstracted sketch), I'm showing disrespect to the President. If I show honor to an image of Christ (whether its an semi-classical catacomb image, a 10th-century Byzantine 'icon', or a Baroque painting), I am showing honor to Christ.

Over its centuries of usage of 'religious pictures', the Orthodox Church has developed clear guidelines (or even rules) for the best or proper way to depict holy things, just as we have clear guidelines for what, for example, a church building should be. But a rented storefront with a small number of mass-produced icon prints nailed to the walls can still be a *real* temple, even if it is not close to the ideal you see in a Church custom-built to Orthodox standards with every internal surface hand-painted with traditional iconography. In the same way, an icon painted with specific imagery, in a specific style, and painted in a specific way is considered more proper (effective, etc) than said Baroque oil painting. But they are both images of the Holy which is the key issue.
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Offline ialmisry

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Re: Protestants and Icons
« Reply #126 on: January 08, 2010, 01:17:21 PM »
The icon has a symbolic component in it (e.g. the halo) that has to be conveyed. It's the reason why a photograph of say, St. Tikhon, is not an icon of St. Tikhon.  
What about the Icon "Not-Made-With-Hands" (the Holy Mandylion)? This criterion you suggest would exclude it from being an Icon: http://img101.imageshack.us/img101/1107/5642iid.jpg

As I could include other criteria to exclude it from being an icon, let's compare instead this:


So we are not looking at the original Mandylion, which in any case would be a relic, and venerated on that basis.  As to the resemblance to a photograph, the sources state that Abgar's artists could not made a portrait of Christ, i.e. couldn't take the photograph.

St. John is shown with wings (since he is greater than any man born of a woman, with the obvious exception) although no one believes he had them.
Actually, St. John the Baptist is depicted with wings because of Matthew 11:10, Mark 1:2 and Luke 7:27:
‘ Behold, I send My messenger before Your face,Who will prepare Your way before You.’
In Greek "messenger" is "aggelos" (Angel).


And the name Malachi (whom the Evangelists are quoting: the only thing I miss about the Protestant canon is how the OT ends on that note, and picks up a few pages later  in Matthew) means "my messenger/angel." That of course is true, and part of the Forerunner's exalted status.
Sergei Bulgakov, The Orthodox Church.
http://books.google.com/books?id=HAaNyj20KDYC&pg=PA125&dq=Bulgakov+Precursor+wings&cd=1#v=onepage&q=&f=false
The meaning of icons By Léonide Ouspensky, Vladimir Lossky
http://books.google.com/books?id=EMa30wq4N4MC&pg=PA106&dq=icon+John+the+baptist+wings&cd=8#v=onepage&q=icon%20John%20the%20baptist%20wings&f=false

The "historicity" of this became an issue in the Nikonian "reforms"
Icon and devotion: sacred spaces in Imperial Russia By Oleg Tarasov, R. R. Milner-Gulland
http://books.google.com/books?id=Oy_TVfi47gcC&pg=PA190&dq=icon+John+the+baptist+wings&cd=6#v=onepage&q=icon%20John%20the%20baptist%20wings&f=false

Btw, portrayals in icon of St. John holding his severed head show that time, as well as space, is relative in iconography.
The mystical language of icons By Solrunn Nes
http://books.google.com/books?id=NMKZoy6EJfcC&pg=PA65&dq=icon+John+the+baptist+wings&cd=3#v=onepage&q=icon%20John%20the%20baptist%20wings&f=false
« Last Edit: January 08, 2010, 01:18:10 PM by ialmisry »
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Offline ialmisry

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Re: Protestants and Icons
« Reply #127 on: January 08, 2010, 01:23:09 PM »
Wasn't that the place where only one guy in the entire world could go in, and they tied a rope to him in case he died inside, so they could pull him out? That must have been some heavy duty venerating!  ;)
LOL! Thats right. Only the High Priest could enter the Holy of Holies and only on one day of the year (Yom Kippur- The Day of Atonement).
I didn't know about the rope thing!

Yes, it's a Jewish tradition.
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Offline ialmisry

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Re: Protestants and Icons
« Reply #128 on: January 08, 2010, 01:30:57 PM »
Ah, should have know to ask you first off! But, I work with medieval Books of Hours. I think the pictures aren't always considered to be icons, exactly - especially those that show non-Biblical, traditional scenes. And the illuminators don't usually sign their work, nor can you easily tell which pictures are by whom. You certainly can't look and say, 'Oh, yes, that's the Master of the Douai Psalter' - you can make a guess, but I suspect it's as easy as telling what was by Rublev and what wasn't. So why aren't these pictures icons? Or are they?

Btw - Maureen, you won't have seen this since it was in the UK, but did anyone else catch the documentary series on the art of Russia over Christmas?

It's quite possible that what your are describing could be a form of iconography. After all, Orthodoxy does recognize that Christianity did have different forms of expression, even prior to the schism. (After all, I'm sure the Liturgy St. Patrick of Ireland used was a bit different than say, a saint in Greece at the same time.)

Usually what we refer to in Orthodoxy is in relation to Byzantine Iconography and it's child, Russian/Slavic Iconography. I know that within Western Rite Orthodoxy they do use statues, and have a more Western look to their religious artwork.

As I'm still in Atlanta I don't have my books on iconography with me, but I can check into it when I get back to NJ.

I think Liz is descrbing this type:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tr%C3%A8s_Riches_Heures_du_Duc_de_Berry

No, that wouldn't qualify as iconography, except political iconography perhaps.
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Offline ialmisry

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Re: Protestants and Icons
« Reply #129 on: January 08, 2010, 01:36:02 PM »
But, Ialmisry, a picture can be symbolic too, surely? You say that:

Quote
A religious picture can portray how someone sees a certain scene or person, the icon shows how the Church sees the scene or person.

But pictures aren't just quasi-photographic records, are they? That's a very small slice out of art history.



We have examples of realistic art from the same time of ancient icons, but the Church chose iconography instead of such art.  So it is a much larger slice. The whole pie actually.

In religious art the artist expresses his own personal faith.  The iconographer has conventions he must attend to, because he expresses the Faith of the Church.

The are, of course, photographs that are said to be "iconic."  They still only portray the visible spectrum: iconic quality is envoked, rather than portrayed.

Sorry, I didn't express myself clearly. I meant, there's plenty of art that is non-realistic, whilst also being non-iconic. Is anything that expresses religious faith in a symbolic matter an icon?

Do you mean, do other religions have their iconography? Yes.  I suspect all do, but I won't say that dogmatically, but having seen Buddhist, Hindu, etc. iconography, I know others exist.

Quote
What pictures were you thinking of when you said that artists express their own personal faith in religious art?


Perhaps the Cistine Chapel, but then there's the problem that Michelangelo included his personal vendettas in that as well.

Question a friend, perhaps he did not do it; but if he did anything so that he may do it no more.
A hasty quarrel kindles fire,
and urgent strife sheds blood.
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Offline Liz

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Re: Protestants and Icons
« Reply #130 on: January 08, 2010, 02:19:23 PM »

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Re: Protestants and Icons
« Reply #131 on: January 08, 2010, 02:51:04 PM »
I guess I was thinking of images like this one:

http://www.holycross.edu/departments/visarts/projects/kempe/devotion/alphabet/ykasn05.jpg

(I hope that link works ok).

Or like this:

http://www.fitzmuseum.cam.ac.uk/dept/msspb/collection/images/Ms12.f12r.jpg




As images of the holy, those would be icons in the 'Holy Icons' sense.
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Re: Protestants and Icons
« Reply #132 on: January 08, 2010, 11:49:02 PM »
Sorry. I didn't realize you were asking about the rope yochanan, I thought you were asking whether the High Priest was the only one alowed to enter the Holy of Holies.

No problem. Hey, where did you get the idea of the rope? Can you give me a link? It would surely support icon-veneration. Its a very strong argument because its from the OT: a direct command from the LORD.  ;
It wasn't my idea. I'd never heard of it before:
LOL! Thats right. Only the High Priest could enter the Holy of Holies and only on one day of the year (Yom Kippur- The Day of Atonement).
I didn't know about the rope thing!


Oh. The who did?  :o

Oh, its actually Asteriktos. Haha.
« Last Edit: January 08, 2010, 11:50:59 PM by yochanan »
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Re: Protestants and Icons
« Reply #133 on: January 08, 2010, 11:50:10 PM »
The Ark of the Covenant and its contents was the most holy object in the Temple and the Holy of Holies where it sat was the most sacred place on Earth.

Wasn't that the place where only one guy in the entire world could go in, and they tied a rope to him in case he died inside, so they could pull him out? That must have been some heavy duty venerating!  ;)

Hey, Asteriktos, where did you get the idea that they used the rope. Any texts about it? Thanks in advance.
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Offline Justin Kissel

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Re: Protestants and Icons
« Reply #134 on: January 08, 2010, 11:52:06 PM »
Oh. The who did?  :o

That was my mistake ;) This search at Google brings up a lot of relevant pages.