Christological argumentation of venerable John of Damascus in the context of philosophy of icon-worship

Author(s):  N.N. Mikhaltsov, no, no, Belgorod Orthodox Theological seminary (with missionary orientation),, Belgorod, Russia, mnn-st@mail.ru

Issue:  Volume 45, № 1

Rubric:  Religion Studies and Sociology of Culture

Annotation:  The VIII century is a period of Byzantine philosophie`s history rather filled with disputes between spokesmen of different philosophical systems. We can note a confrontation between traditional Christian thought and radical notions on icons, matter and forms of worship in that period. There are many slants on the philosophical underpinning of iconoclastic ideology. But most of them are formulated in isolation from the theological and church-historical contexts, do not have a specific textual base in the writings of iconoclasts and icon worshipers. This gap in the studies of the Byzantine philosophy of the iconoclastic period gives rise to an additional study of the sources in this work and to clarify the question. The article observes different opinions among researchers about the causes of the iconoclastic movement in Byzantium in the context of traditional Christology. Works of Venerable John of Damascus (2nd half of the 7th century – before 754), the brightest polemicist with iconoclasts in the period of the beginning of the Troubles, make clear the causes of the movement against holy icons, and also uncover theological and philosophical roots of the iconoclastic heresy. As a result of this research we`ve come to conclusion that roots of iconoclastic movement are caused by iconoclasts` distorted understanding of philosophy of God’s Incarnation and in rejection of traditional philosophical and theological paradigm. Thus, this article concretizes the philosophical and theological context of the iconoclastic controversy of the initial period of iconoclasm, thereby opening up the prospect of studies of the christology of the iconoclastic movement - in general, and the philosophy of icon veneration John of Damascus in particular.

Keywords:  philosophy of icon-worship, theology, Venerable John of Damascus, Leo the III-rd, iconoclastic disputes, matter.

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