Archive Authors E.J. Hutchinson Early Church Fathers Nota Bene

Augustine and the Seduction of the Image

With respect to the veneration of images, one sometimes encounters the following argument: the image itself is not worshiped, but is rather only a means by which God might be worshiped. Such a claim may seem to have some initial plausibility for excusing the practice. After all, don’t we regularly make use of created things […]

Archive Authors E.J. Hutchinson Early Church Fathers Nota Bene Reformed Irenicism

Holy Iconoclasm

Sometimes relics of blessed memory can become causes for sin and stumbling. Such was the case with the bronze serpent, which God had commanded to be made. The Israelites kept it after God did his saving work through it, and began to venerate it in a way that was not appropriate–indeed, in a way that […]

Archive E.J. Hutchinson Early Church Fathers Nota Bene Reformed Irenicism Sacred Doctrine

Augustine the Iconoclast?

I’ve posted briefly before on images and iconoclasm (for instance: here, on Eusebius; here, on Greek aniconism; here, on the smashing of images of Constantine). The passage below is from Augustine’s De fide et symbolo (“On Faith and the Creed”), delivered to bishops at a council in Hippo in October of 393. In this section, Augustine […]

Andrew Fulford Archive Authors Early Church Fathers Nota Bene Sacred Doctrine

Irenaeus and Images

A brief addendum to Steven’s previous note: Irenaeus mentions the use the Carpocratian gnostics put to images in his day: Others of them employ outward marks, branding their disciples inside the lobe of the right ear. From among these also arose Marcellina, who came to Rome under [the episcopate of] Anicetus, and holding these doctrines, […]

Archive Authors Nota Bene Sacred Doctrine Steven Wedgeworth

The Patristic Critique of Icons

The liturgical use of icons is one of the disputed points which has a mixed foundation in the early church. Most people are familiar with the Second Council of Nicaea, which demanded the veneration of icons and claimed the practice as apostolic. Not as many people, however, know the opposing patristic voices. To help counter-balance […]

Archive Civic Polity Peter Escalante

Iconoclasm and Freedom

“In law and theology, the arcanum imperii becomes transparent”- Agamben goes on to say that worship is to theology what metaphysics is to philosophy. He offers here some characteristically illuminating reflections on the liturgical foundations of polity, though his focus is on unreformed examples. But we might ask: what is the radically evangelical act of […]