It is interesting to note, as an aside, that the iconoclasts, who quoted Eusebius and Epiphanius from the fourth century, did not quote any supposedly iconophobic authors from the first three centuries. H. Koch (Die altchristliche Bilderfrage nach den literarischen Quellen, Göttingen, Vanderhœck & Ruprecht, 1917) presents a list of fifteen authors before Constantine who, according to him and others who support the Hostility Theory, witness to primitive Christianity's hostility to images in the Church. In fact, these authors, from Aristides of Athens through Clement of Alexandria and on to Arnobius of Sicca, attacked idolatrous images, idols, and pagan idolatry. They say little or nothing about images in a Christian context or the attitude of early Christians toward them. It is very noteworthy that those who needed all the patristic ammunition they could get -- the Byzantine iconoclasts -- did not delve into this treasury of so-called iconophobic material. We cannot say the iconoclasts did not know about these writers, but they apparently did not see their relevance to their own cause. They knew quite well that an attack on pagan idols could not be used as an attack on Christian images. This point, however, has been lost on subsequent generations. (Fr. Steven Bigham, Epiphanius of Salamis, Doctor of Iconoclasm? Deconstruction of a Myth, pg. 58, footnote 19)
Saturday, November 13, 2010
Iconoclasm then and now
This is a very interesting footnote from Fr. Steven Bigham. It is a great proof of the level of impiety which today's so-called "iconoclasts" have reached that they have come to the point at which they have no qualms about using passages about idols of devils as if they simultaneously argued against images of Christ, his Mother, and the Saints, thereby nearly putting the holy and the demonic on an equal footing.