Protestants and Icons

ozgeorge

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HandmaidenofGod said:
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.)
Maureen, these are not Canons of the Seventh Ecumenical Council.
 
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Liz said:
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.
 

ialmisry

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Liz said:
But, Ialmisry, a picture can be symbolic too, surely? You say that:

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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HandmaidenofGod said:
Liz said:
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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ialmisry said:
Liz said:
But, Ialmisry, a picture can be symbolic too, surely? You say that:

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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Liz said:
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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ozgeorge said:
ialmisry said:
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.

ozgeorge said:
ialmisry said:
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
 

ialmisry

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ozgeorge said:
Asteriktos said:
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.
 

ialmisry

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HandmaidenofGod said:
Liz said:
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.
 

ialmisry

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Liz said:
ialmisry said:
Liz said:
But, Ialmisry, a picture can be symbolic too, surely? You say that:

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.

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.

 

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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


 

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Liz said:
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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ozgeorge said:
yochanan said:
ozgeorge said:
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:
ozgeorge said:
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?  :eek:

Oh, its actually Asteriktos. Haha.
 

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Asteriktos said:
ozgeorge said:
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.
 

Asteriktos

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yochanan said:
Hey, Asteriktos, where did you get the idea that they used the rope. Any texts about it? Thanks in advance.
I don't recall the exact source where I got the idea from. I seem to remember learning about it while I was a Protestant, so we're talking about maybe 11 or 12 years ago. Apparently the source was wrong--though I'm certainly at fault as well, because I'm the one who bought into the idea to the point that I could remember that idea a dozen years later.  :angel:
 

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yochanan said:
Asteriktos said:
ozgeorge said:
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.
I remember being told this, too - by a Messianic Jew, actually. 
 

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Asteriktos said:
yochanan said:
Hey, Asteriktos, where did you get the idea that they used the rope. Any texts about it? Thanks in advance.
I don't recall the exact source where I got the idea from. I seem to remember learning about it while I was a Protestant, so we're talking about maybe 11 or 12 years ago. Apparently the source was wrong--though I'm certainly at fault as well, because I'm the one who bought into the idea to the point that I could remember that idea a dozen years later.  :angel:
You're not the only one:
The entrance of the High Priest into the Holy of Holies was a perilous journey. A rope was tied to his feet, in case he didn't survive and had to be dragged back into this world.
http://www.rabbishefagold.com/YomKippurTeachings.html
 

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Asteriktos said:
yochanan said:
Hey, Asteriktos, where did you get the idea that they used the rope. Any texts about it? Thanks in advance.
I don't recall the exact source where I got the idea from. I seem to remember learning about it while I was a Protestant, so we're talking about maybe 11 or 12 years ago. Apparently the source was wrong--though I'm certainly at fault as well, because I'm the one who bought into the idea to the point that I could remember that idea a dozen years later.  :angel:
Hearsay and gossip  ::)

Haha, just messin'. ialmistry answered it.

Thanks  ;D
 

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ialmisry said:
Asteriktos said:
yochanan said:
Hey, Asteriktos, where did you get the idea that they used the rope. Any texts about it? Thanks in advance.
I don't recall the exact source where I got the idea from. I seem to remember learning about it while I was a Protestant, so we're talking about maybe 11 or 12 years ago. Apparently the source was wrong--though I'm certainly at fault as well, because I'm the one who bought into the idea to the point that I could remember that idea a dozen years later.  :angel:
You're not the only one:
The entrance of the High Priest into the Holy of Holies was a perilous journey. A rope was tied to his feet, in case he didn't survive and had to be dragged back into this world.
http://www.rabbishefagold.com/YomKippurTeachings.html
OK, so this is a Jewish belief, then... makes sense.
 

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Liz said:
jnorm888 said:
Liz said:
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?
I see it as being related to the multiple meanings or interpretations of the "physical" world.
 

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yochanan said:
ozgeorge said:
yochanan said:
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? :eek:
Does the Talmud or "Jewish Fathers" say anything?
The Jews bowed down in front of the footstool in the Temple(Psalm 99:1-5)
Psalm99:1-5
"The LORD reigns; Let the peoples tremble! He dwells between the cherubim; Let the earth be moved! The LORD is great in Zion, And He is high above all the peoples. Let them praise Your great and awesome name— He is holy. The King’s strength also loves justice; You have established equity; You have executed justice and righteousness in Jacob. Exalt the LORD our God, And worship at His footstool— He is holy."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aL2ReQgj_zg&feature=player_embedded (The Jews venerate the Torah as well as a few other things in the Synagogue ......not to mention the wailing wall.)

ICXC NIKA
 

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jnorm888 said:
yochanan said:
ozgeorge said:
yochanan said:
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? :eek:
Does the Talmud or "Jewish Fathers" say anything?
The Jews bowed down in front of the footstool in the Temple(Psalm 99:1-5)
Psalm99:1-5
"The LORD reigns; Let the peoples tremble! He dwells between the cherubim; Let the earth be moved! The LORD is great in Zion, And He is high above all the peoples. Let them praise Your great and awesome name— He is holy. The King’s strength also loves justice; You have established equity; You have executed justice and righteousness in Jacob. Exalt the LORD our God, And worship at His footstool— He is holy."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aL2ReQgj_zg&feature=player_embedded (The Jews venerate the Torah as well as a few other things in the Synagogue ......not to mention the wailing wall.)

ICXC NIKA
Isn't there a difference between venerating something considered holy for its content (eg. the Torah, items in the temple), and venerating something whose holiness derives in at least in part from what it represents or symbolizes? I'd have said this is one of the key problems of differentiating between idolatry and veneration.

Btw, Jnorm, when you refer to interpretation in the four types, are you saying icons are somehow a fifth type, close to communicating Truth? Or that they are some kind of allegory?
 

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Liz said:
jnorm888 said:
yochanan said:
ozgeorge said:
yochanan said:
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? :eek:
Does the Talmud or "Jewish Fathers" say anything?
The Jews bowed down in front of the footstool in the Temple(Psalm 99:1-5)
Psalm99:1-5
"The LORD reigns; Let the peoples tremble! He dwells between the cherubim; Let the earth be moved! The LORD is great in Zion, And He is high above all the peoples. Let them praise Your great and awesome name— He is holy. The King’s strength also loves justice; You have established equity; You have executed justice and righteousness in Jacob. Exalt the LORD our God, And worship at His footstool— He is holy."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aL2ReQgj_zg&feature=player_embedded (The Jews venerate the Torah as well as a few other things in the Synagogue ......not to mention the wailing wall.)

ICXC NIKA
Isn't there a difference between venerating something considered holy for its content (eg. the Torah, items in the temple), and venerating something whose holiness derives in at least in part from what it represents or symbolizes? I'd have said this is one of the key problems of differentiating between idolatry and veneration.

Btw, Jnorm, when you refer to interpretation in the four types, are you saying icons are somehow a fifth type, close to communicating Truth? Or that they are some kind of allegory?
I thought the Anglicans had icons. Are you High Church or Low Church?

Well this is what I know. From what I know you even have nuns. Right?

You're like Catholic w/o the Pope. Right?

No offense. This is really what I know of.
 

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yochanan said:
Asteriktos said:
ozgeorge said:
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.
We learned it in our  protestant years. Well, at least I know I did.


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jnorm888

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Liz said:
jnorm888 said:
yochanan said:
ozgeorge said:
yochanan said:
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? :eek:
Does the Talmud or "Jewish Fathers" say anything?
The Jews bowed down in front of the footstool in the Temple(Psalm 99:1-5)
Psalm99:1-5
"The LORD reigns; Let the peoples tremble! He dwells between the cherubim; Let the earth be moved! The LORD is great in Zion, And He is high above all the peoples. Let them praise Your great and awesome name— He is holy. The King’s strength also loves justice; You have established equity; You have executed justice and righteousness in Jacob. Exalt the LORD our God, And worship at His footstool— He is holy."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aL2ReQgj_zg&feature=player_embedded (The Jews venerate the Torah as well as a few other things in the Synagogue ......not to mention the wailing wall.)

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Isn't there a difference between venerating something considered holy for its content (eg. the Torah, items in the temple), and venerating something whose holiness derives in at least in part from what it represents or symbolizes? I'd have said this is one of the key problems of differentiating between idolatry and veneration.

Btw, Jnorm, when you refer to interpretation in the four types, are you saying icons are somehow a fifth type, close to communicating Truth? Or that they are some kind of allegory?
From reading the book, I saw that the ancients didn't interprete the natural world only in it's "literal" sense. Instead, they did so through both "literal" as well as through "Allegory/Typology....etc" And so I am saying that Icons(something that is physical and part of the natural world) is part of the 4 type tradition. The 3 or 4 modes of interpretations wasn't with just Scripture alone, but with Nature as well...the created world and so Icons can have a strictly Church based interpretation that makes it different from other forms of art.

But yes, Icons can be Theological as well. I saw Icons that were more political/National historical, and theological.....and so yes. In some sense, I see some of our Icons as a type of "semi-language". We do have rules, but not all of our rules are uniform and so everyone isn't always on the same page, but in general, I do see a type of theology in many of our Icons.  There is one in where you have two adams in the garden of Eden, one has a beard while the other doesn't. I love that Icon for it's rich theological depth. Infact, you could make a ton of sermons off that one Icon alone.
 

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jnorm888 said:
Liz said:
Isn't there a difference between venerating something considered holy for its content (eg. the Torah, items in the temple), and venerating something whose holiness derives in at least in part from what it represents or symbolizes? I'd have said this is one of the key problems of differentiating between idolatry and veneration.

Btw, Jnorm, when you refer to interpretation in the four types, are you saying icons are somehow a fifth type, close to communicating Truth? Or that they are some kind of allegory?
From reading the book, I saw that the ancients didn't interprete the natural world only in it's "literal" sense. Instead, they did so through both "literal" as well as through "Allegory/Typology....etc" And so I am saying that Icons(something that is physical and part of the natural world) is part of the 4 type tradition. The 3 or 4 modes of interpretations wasn't with just Scripture alone, but with Nature as well...the created world and so Icons can have a strictly Church based interpretation that makes it different from other forms of art.

But yes, Icons can be Theological as well. I saw Icons that were more political/National historical, and theological.....and so yes. In some sense, I see some of our Icons as a type of "semi-language". We do have rules, but not all of our rules are uniform and so everyone isn't always on the same page, but in general, I do see a type of theology in many of our Icons.  There is one in where you have two adams in the garden of Eden, one has a beard while the other doesn't. I love that Icon for it's rich theological depth. Infact, you could make a ton of sermons off that one Icon alone.
I'm not sure I'm following you. May I go over what you said and see where I went wrong?

Interpretation in the four types can be applied to Scripture, the natural world, and other things, I agree. It's an interpretative strategy based on hermeneutics, which sits well with Christianity because God is necessarily hidden from our earthly sight. But, accepting that, how does it follow that
Icons can have a strictly Church based interpretation that makes it different from other forms of art.
. You could interpret any picture you chose according to the four types. You could also apply Orthodox theology to many non-Orthodox images, and construct an interpretation according to the four types that was consistent with Orthodox theology, too.

I'm really confused as to what this thing is that makes icons so different from other art... maybe I'll just 'see' it one day, I hope so.
 

Rastaman

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Liz said:
Isn't there a difference between venerating something considered holy for its content (eg. the Torah, items in the temple), and venerating something whose holiness derives in at least in part from what it represents or symbolizes? I'd have said this is one of the key problems of differentiating between idolatry and veneration.
"The Holy Icons
I venerate holy icons in perfect accord with the second commandment of the Decalogue [Ten Commandments] and not in contradiction to it. For, before the Incarnation of God, before the Nativity of Jesus Christ, any representation of Him would have been the fruit of man's imagination, a conception of man's reasoning concerning God Who is by nature and in His essence incomprehensible, indescribable, immaterial, inexpressible and unfathomable. Every conception or imagination concerning God will, by necessity, be alien to His nature; it will be false, unreal, an idol. But when the time was fulfilled, the Indepictable One became depictable for my salvation. As the Apostle says, "we have heard Him, we have seen Him with our eyes, we have looked upon Him and have handled Him with our hands" (I John 1:1). When I venerate the holy icons I do not worship matter, but I confess that God Who is immaterial by nature has become material for our sakes so that He might dwell among us, die for us, be raised from the dead in His flesh and cause our human nature, which He took upon Himself, to sit at the right hand of the Father in the Heavens. When I kiss His venerable icon, I confess the relatively describable and absolutely historical reality of His Incarnation, His Death, His Resurrection, His Ascension into the Heavens, and His Second and Glorious Coming.

The Veneration and Worship of the Holy Icons
I venerate the holy icons by prostrating myself before them, by kissing them, by showing them a "relative worship" (as the definition of the Seventh Ecumenical Council says) while confessing that only the Most Holy Trinity is to be offered adoration. By the words "relative worship" I do not mean a second rate worship, but that they are worshipped because of their relation to God. God alone, Who is the cause and the final goal of all things, deserves our worship; Him alone must we worship. We worship the saints, their holy relics and their icons only because He dwells in them. Thus, the creatures that are sanctified by God are venerated and worshipped because of their relation to Him and on account of Him. This has always been the teaching of the Church: "The worship of the icon is directed to the prototype." Not to venerate the saints is to deny the reality of their communion with God, the effects of Divine sanctification and the grace which works in them; it is to deny the words of the Apostle who said, "I no longer live, but Christ liveth in me." (Gal. 2:20). I believe that icons are a consequence of and a witness to the Incarnation of Our Saviour and an integral part of Christianity; thus there is no question of a human custom or doctrine having been superimposed upon the Tradition of the Church, as though it were an afterthought. I believe and I confess that the holy icons are not only decorative and didactic objects which are found in Church, but also holy and sanctifying, being the shadows of heavenly realities; and even as the shadow of the Apostle Peter once cured the sick—as it is related in the Acts of the Apostles—so in like manner do the holy icons, being shadows of celestial realities, sanctify us."

From the back cover of the Orthodox Wall Calendar published by St. Nectarios Press, Seattle, Washington.
 
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I don't have a problem with icons. I have them everywhere. Home, Work in the car and on my Cell phone and on my MP3 player... They bring me comfort that the saints of the past are praying for me... I know my brother who is a KJV-only hell & brimstone Baptist and he with his family attended our wedding... I thought he was going to pee his pants or scream when he saw people kissing icons and crossing themselves.... Most Prots don't know that Dr. Luke is the first Icon writer who wrote the first Icon of the Theotokos
 

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If anyone has ever talked to a Hindu who worships idols, they will also tell you that the idol fashioned is not the deity him/herself, but rather a material depiction, and that the worship passes through the prototype to the actual essence of the deity.  People don't tend to think that the depiction "is the god", but rather than when summoned, the deity temporarily takes residence within the vessel to receive adoration.

Don't we also believe that the saints and Christ are "made present" in a special way thought the icons?

I think the notion that we are different by praying through rather than to icons is a false setup which caricatures the "others" in a way that is not honest.
 
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Orthodox don't claim that icons are that of a Deity. They are a representation of the actual person. Kinda like a picture of a loved one. If you look at the Hindus they actually worship the image. Orthodox don't do this. We use them as a constant reminder of the Saints who have gone after us.
 

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Orthodox Swamp Thing said:
Orthodox don't claim that icons are that of a Deity. They are a representation of the actual person. Kinda like a picture of a loved one. If you look at the Hindus they actually worship the image. Orthodox don't do this. We use them as a constant reminder of the Saints who have gone after us.
I know a lot of Hindus. No one I know thinks they worship an image! They worship the God represented by that image. I grant that Hinduism doesn't convince me at all, but we shouldn't misrepresent it.
 
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