The Byzantine Fathers Of the Sixth to Eighth Century icon

The Byzantine Fathers Of the Sixth to Eighth Century

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1. K. N. Ouspensky, Sketches on Byzantine History, Part I, Moskow 1917 (Russian), p. 237 ff. Ouspensky's book on the history of the Iconoclasm, to which he refers, seems never to have been published.

2. Henri Gregoire, in Byzantium, edited by Norman H. Baynes and H. St. L. B. Moss (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1948), p. 105. All articles in this volume were written before the war.

3. E. J. Martin, A History of the Iconoclastic Controversy (London: S.P.C.K., s.d.), pp. 3-4.

4. Gregoire, Byzantium (1948), p. 105.

5. G. Ostrogorsky, Studien zur Geschichte des byzantinischen Bilderstreites, (Breslau, 1929) [Historische Untersuchungen, Hf. 5]; “Connection of the question of the Holy Icons with the Christological dogma,” Seminarium Kondakovianum, I (1927); “Gnoseological presuppositions of the Byzantine controversy about the Holy Icons,” Ibidem, II (1928) — both articles in Russian; “Les debuts de la Querelle des Images,” Melanges Diehl, vol. I, Paris, 1930; G. Ladner, “Der Bilderstreit und die Kunstlehren der byzantinischen und abendlandischen Theologie,” Zeitschrift fur die Kirchengeschichte, B. 50 (1931); “Origin and Significance of the Byzantine Iconoclastic Controversy,” Mediaeval Studies, II (1940); P. Lucas Koch, “Zur Theologie der Christus-ikone,” in “Benediktinische Monatschrift,” Beuron, XIX (1937); 11/12; XX (1928), 1/2, 5/6, 7/8; “Christusbild-Kaiserbild,” Ibidem, XXI (1939), 3/4.

6. A brief note on Andreev's unpublished work has been given in the Russian Historical Journal (probably by V. Beneshevich), VII (Petrograd, 1921), 215-218 (in Russian).

7. This is the title of an admirable booklet by Eric Peterson, Der Monotheismus als politisches Problem (1935).

8. Cf. Lucas Koch, Christusbild, etc. — The author uses extensively the book of Andre Grabar, L'Empereur dans l'art Byzantin (Paris, 1936).

9. The best presentation of the Orthodox theory of icons is in the articles of P. Lucas Koch.

10. See B. M. Melioransky, Georgij Kyprianin i loann Jerusalimskij, dva maloizviestnykh borza za pravoslavie v 8 vickie [два малоизвестных борца за православие в 8 веке] (St. Petersbourg, 1901); and Ostrogorsky, Studien.

11. Cf., e.g., A. Vasiliev, Histoire de I'Empire Byzantine (Paris: Picard, 1932), I, 379: “Quant au parti de la cour et an haut elerge', on peut dire que ces fonctionnaires du gouvernement et eveques n'obeirent pas pour la plupart aux ordres de leur conscience, mais qu'ils professerent les doctrines qui s'harmonisaient avec leurs crainte et leur ambitions.” This view is widespread in the literature.

12. This point has been emphasized by H. Gregoire in his review of Ostrogorsky's “Studien,” in Byzantion, IV, 765-771.

13. Cf. F. Vernet, “Juifs (Controverses avec les),” in D. T. C., VIII. 2, c. 1878 s.; and Sirarpie der Nersessian, “Une Apologie des images du septieme siecle,” in Byzantion, XVII (1944-1945). See also J. B. Frey, “La question des images chez les Juifs,” in Biblica, XV (1934).

14. It is a commonplace in the literature. See, in recent times, Christopher Dawson, The Making of Europe (London: Sheed & Ward, 1946 (1932), p. 136: “It has behind it, not the explicit doctrines of a theological school but the vague and formless spirit of an oriental sectarianism which rejected the whole system of Hellenic dogma.” Cf. George Every, The Byzantine Patriarchate, 451-1204 (London: S.P.C.K., 1946), p. 105: “The Iconoclastic schisms of 730-86 and 815-43 were not the schisms between East and West, but between an Asiatic party at Constantinople and the Greek and Latin party in Greece, Italy and Rome.”

15. Cf. Ostrogorsky, Melanges Diehl, p. 236: “Le role, joue' au debut de la querelle des images par le clerge iconoclaste d' Asie Mineure, tombe dans I' oublie dans les siecles suivants.” See also Meliqransky, Georgij Kyprianin.

16. Cf. J. M. Sweetman, Islam and Christian Theology, P. I, v. I, (Lutterworth Press, London & Redhill, 1945), p. 63.: “One would rather see in this movement something parallel to Islam” etc.

17. Cf. Vasiliev, Histoire, 380.

18. Karl Schwartzlose, Der Bilderstreit (Gotha, 1890), pp. 77-78.

19. In any case Paulicians were invoked in vain, for it is most doubtful whether they had any iconoclastic tendencies, as much as would have agreed with their dualistic presuppositions. See Henri Gregoire, in Atti del V Congresso internazionale di Studi Bizantini (Roma, 1939), 177; and recently D. Obolensky, The Bogomils (Cambridge, 1949), p. 53.

20. See Karl Holl, ''Die Schrijten des Epiphanius gegen die Bilderverehrung” (1916), in his Gesammelte Aufsdtze zur Kirchengeschichte (Tubingen: Mohr, 1928), II, 351-387, and Ostrogorsky, Studien, 61 ff.

21. Holl, 387, n. I. “An der Echtheit des Briefes hat nur Befangenschaft zweifeln konnen. Sprache, Standpunkt, Auffassung stimmen ganz mit dem unangefochtenen Eusebius iiberein. Ware das Schreiben in einem spateren

Jahrhundert gefälscht, so müsste die dogmatische Begründung schärfer gefasst sein.”

22. Excerpts from the Letter of Eusebius read at the Nicaenum II (787): Mansi, XIII, c. 314 or Harduin IV, 406; an enlarged text (following cod. Reg. 1980) was published by Boivin (Nie. Gregoras, Hist. Byz. XIX, 3, 4 (reprinted in Migne, S.Gr. CXLIX and in C. S. H. B., Bd. XIX. 2); Card. Pitra, Sptcilegium Solesmense, I, 383-386 (as cap. 9 of Nicephorus Antirrheticus contra Eusebium) ; see also inter opera Eusebii — Migne, S. Gr. XX, c. 1545-1549, and in Kirsch, Enchiridion, n. 471. Cf. Hugo Koch, Die alt christliche Bilderfrage nach den literarischen Quellen (Göttingen 1917; F.R.L.A.N.T., Neue Folge 10); W. Elliger, Die Stellung der alten Christen zu den Bildern in den ersten vier Jahrhunderten (Picker's Studien über Christliche Denkmäler, Hf. 20; Leipzig 1930).

23.See H. Berkhof, Die Theologie des Eusebius von Caesarea (Amsterdam, 1939).

24.The theology of St. Maximus was intensively discussed by scholars in recent years. The following studies should be listed: Hans Urs von Balthasar, Kosmische Liturgie. Maximus der Bekenner: Höhe und Krise des griechischen Weltbilds (1941; 2nd edition, revised and amplified, 196l); Polycarp Sherwood, O.S.B., The Earlier Ambigua of St. Maximus the Confessor, “Studia Anselmiana,” fasc. XXXVI (Romae, 1955); Lars Thun-berg, Microcosm and Mediator. The Theological Anthropology of Maximus the Confessor (Lund, 1965); Walter Völker, Maximus Confessor als Meister des geistlichen Lebens (1965). The earlier monograph of S.L. Epifano-vich, St. Maximus the Confessor and Byzantine Theology (Kiev, 1915 [in Russian]) is still to be consulted.

25. Antirrheticus Liber adversus Eusebium et Epiphanidem by St. Nicephorus was published by Cardinal J.B. Pitra in his Specilegium Solesmense, Vol. I (1852), p. 371-504; Vol. IV (1858), p. 292-380. Unfortunately the major theological treatise of St. Nicephorus, Elenchos kai Anatrope, is still unpublished. Recent studies on St. Nicephorus: A.J. Visser, Nikephoros und der Bilderstreit (1952); PJ. Alexander, The Patriarch Nikephorus of Constantinople (1958).

26. Charles Bigg, The Christian Platonists of Alexandria (2nd revised edition, Oxford, 1913), p. 254.

27. Origen, Commentary in Joannem, I. 9 and 10, Migne PG, XIV, c. 35-40. Origen sharply distinguishes and contrasts the somatic (or “historical”) Gospel and the spiritual (and “eternal”). Before His bodily coming Christ was already appearing to the advanced or “perfect” individuals under the Old Dispensation, like Moses and prophets, to whom His glory was revealed, in an intellectual (or “noetic”) manner. Comparing, or rather contrasting, the two Dispensations, Origen uses the same term epidemia: a visit or appearance, coming among people, and a sojourn. Thus the noetic vision is put on the same level as historic encounter, and, in fact, much higher. Cf. II. 3, c. 113: The prophets, like Isaiah, Hosea, Jeremiah, encountered the Logos. The majority of Christians, however, do not know but Christ, and Him crucified, “considering that the Word made flesh is the whole Word, and knowing only Christ after the flesh.” On many occasions Origen used the terms Logos and Christ as synonyms.

28. In Joannem, VI. 2, Migne, PG, XIV, c. 201 ss. Cf. I. 23, c. 60: “And happy indeed are those who in their need for the Son of God have yet become such persons as not to need Him in his character as a physician healing the sick, nor in that of a shepherd, nor in that of redemption, but only in His character as Wisdom, as the Word and righteousness, or if there be any other title suitable for those who are so perfect as to receive Him in His fairest characters.”

29. Contra Celsum, II. 69: “The truth of the events recorded to have happened to Jesus cannot be seen fully in the mere text and historical narrative, for each event to those who read the Bible more intelligently is clearly a symbol of something as well.” In fact Origen was prepared to go much further. There are in the Scriptures obvious contradictions and certain historical statements cannot be historically true. Yet, “the spiritual truth was often preserved, as one might say in the material falsehood.” Origen would not condemn the writers, “if they even sometimes dealt freely with things which to the eye of history happened differently, and changed them so as to subserve the mystical aims they had in view.” “Spiritual” must be put above “material.” Cf. In Joannem, X. 3 and 4, Migne PG, XIV, c. 312-313. Ultimately the Bible was for Origen not so much a book of Sacred History, as an enormous Allegory to be understood by intuition.

30. “ Joannem, XIX. I, Migne PG XIX, c. 524 ss.

31. Contra Celsum, III. 41: “We affirm that his mortal body and the human soul in him received the greatest elevation not only by communion but by union and intermingling, so that by sharing in his divinity he was transformed into God” and his body acquired “an ethereal and divine quality.”

32. Contra Celsum, II. 64; Commentary in Mattheum, XII. 30 and 36, Migne PG, XII, c. 1050 and 1066.

33. Contra Celsum, VI. 77; cf. IV. 16 and 18.

34. St. Maximus, Capita theologica, II. 13, MPG, XC, c. 1129-1132.

35. Contra Celsum, I. 33: “Why then should there not be a certain soul that takes a body which is entirely miraculous,” or paradoxical?

36. Contra Celsum, II. 9; cf. In Joannem, XXXII. 17, MPG, XIV, c. 812-818.

37. Commentaria in epistolam ad Romanos, I. 7, MPG, XIV, c. 852.

38. In Jeremiam homilia XV. 6, MPG, XII, c. 436-437.

39. In Lucam homilia XXIX, MPG, XIII, c. 1876: qui tune homo fuit, nunc autem esse cessavit.

40. See especially C. Cels. VIII. 17 and 18: “in all those, then, who plant and cultivate within their souls, according to the divine word, temperance, justice, wisdom, piety, and other virtues, these excellences are the statues they raise, in which we are persuaded that it is becoming for us to honour the model and the prototype of all statues: 'the image of the invisible God.' God the Only-begotten . . . And everyone who imitates Him according to his ability, does by this very endeavour raise a statue according to the image of the Creator, for in the contemplation of God with a pure heart they become imitators of Him. And in general, we see that all Christians strive to raise altars and statues as we have described them, and these not of a lifeless and senseless kind,” etc.; cf. VII. 66: “All those who look at the evil productions of painters and sculptors and imagemakers sit in darkness and are settled in it, since they do not wish to look up and ascend in their mind from all visible and sensible things to the Creator of all who is Light.” See Elliger, op. cit., s. II ff. and Hugo Koch, op. cit., p. 19 ff.

41. St. John of Damascus, De imaginibus, III.

42. The Acts of the Iconoclastic conciliabulum of 753 were read at the Nicene Ecumenical Council of 787, Mansi, vol. XII, c. 276.

43. “La Querelle des Images,” in Fliche-Martin, Histoire de l'Eglise, vol. V (Paris 1947).

44. The horos of the Nicaenum II in Mansi t v. XIII, c. 373 ss.

45. Ralle and Potle, Syntagma ton theion kai hieron Canonon, vol. II (Athens), pp. 492-495.

46. Porphyrios, Vita Plotini, I.

47. Plotinus, Enneades, V, 8. 8.

48. Enneades, II. 9- 11.

49Acta Joannis, chapters 26-29, Bonnet, Acta Apostolorum Apocrypha, ILI (Leipzig 1898, reprinted in 1959); English translation in The Apocryphal New Testament, edited by M. R. James (Oxford, 1924). The document is not later than the middle 2nd century. The Acta were quoted at the iconoclastic conciliabulum of 753: Mansi, XIII, c. 168 ss. Patriarch Photius refers to the use of the document by the iconoclasts, Bibliotheca, CIV.

50. Cf. the stimulating book of Endra Ivanka, Hellenisches und Christliches im Frühbyzantinischen Geistesleben (Wien, 1948). On Iconoclasm see p. 105 ff.

51. Origen is still a controversial figure. It was beyond the purpose of this essay to give a comprehensive picture of his theological thought. The only point which it was intended to make was to suggest that certain aspects of his thought could have influenced the growth and formulation of the iconoclastic position. The texts of Origen quoted in this paper were selected for this purpose. The findings of this paper were supported by Professor P.J. Alexander in his article: The Iconoclastic Council of St. Sophia (815) and its definition (Horos), in “Dumbarton Oaks Papers,” VII, p. 37-66.

(fathers_florovsky_3.doc, 08-03-2003)

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