Face To Face

. V: : ! 11 ii j I : ht ]ews] i id Li i ..-.j, .L.i 11 /i. ..1 » nothing l Kl . uv t the O ne- who is c ■'■ er ill liiitigi, ¿ild thi : in■ 111 ■ r'-i111 mak^r 111 i mwai permitted to enjoy the iiphts of citiien&hip Fur nrilhfr pairtlcr nor image maker «istwj ¡n thíií state, 11 lc l.m e* pí 11 ing .i.! such from rit; that there might be no pnrt cxtlbrlhe uon&tructloTi oí i magçs ■ ■ -and ai ! i :'..i i .li ~ ■ .1l l-v c ::ll attc nl ¡01 : of foolis h per > pic. and that J raps down the eye* of the suui from God to earl h There .li .. .niliiijJ., among (hem .1 law tn the fallowingeffect: "[)o not transgress the law and make Hj youraelm t graven : —.11:0liktfCiess of male or female; either .i likeness ot any one of ihn creatures I ho: are upon ilu- ;/arlhhora Likeness nl any winged fowl that fliei under heaven, or a like new of .inf creeping ihirtg -I'.ii i i : l |i■. .j--.il, ihi L-.ii 1I1. m i .:kL m-^ ¿nj Lhf ihc fuhti which arc in ihe vnlers imdr i 111 v earth ( Peu l 4 ; 16-1 * )

Origen also praises <bt hwi for the associated inj unction (a''venerable an<l grand prohibition"} against looking up to htfven kst Sííing the > Li i L. moon, and hi.ir ."-iil- should be led astray L o worship them (Dent 4:19), Clearly, Origen worries more about the worshiping of ¡Uli I s than about the making of images bul, nevertheless, thought that thu lews should be pratfor 1 h ei r ¡ n 1111 l.1 t.l n ce 111 visuaI art ists, lest such wo rk I v pretext for or temptation to dolatry. In his homilies on Fxodus, Ori#?n turns again to the biblical prohibi-lion, but he offers an important distinction between tfi^ terms "'idol11 eidolon) and "likeness1' (homoiöma). According to lu-^ reading of the Cncrk translating : \ud 2(>:4 prohibits the rn.Lkirij; o\ both ("You shall ní]t make for yourself an idol nor any likeness of those things which are jr. heaven or which are m the <¿,mh or which are in the waters under the earth"). To justify this distinction* Origen turns to I'.nil's tir>t letter to ihcCorinlhians. 1 le notes that the apostle says that "no idol in ibe world really exists," while ,ic l I lc samt time saying that chert.- may In; many so-called l!li J-, in heaven or ■.►n earth as in fact are many ami many lords" i I Cur&4-5). Since Paul seems to have deliberately omitted any claim that likenes&es, like idols, were nonexistent, Origen argues that ■:1 is iniL' thirui in ni_ikl- .m idul and something l-L^l- to make a likeness, '] liL essential difference between rtitwo is that the likeness shows something thai actually can be mll'ii (for l1 vain 11 ■■111 . a bird, (isli, sun, (ir moon i. while the idol comes entirely from the human imagination and never occurs in nature i far instance, a ram's head on a human body i his is why Paul can c-ill idols nonexistent. Mul. ■i.ïri^L-n points -.ilit, likenesses and idols were prohibited by the Stcond Command-meflt, ul>l both were forbidden L-itl^r worship o\ adoration il.\o¿ 2D:5)hand &x possible excuse th.ir no h.invi comcs from adoring <Lnon-L^i>ti.-[it" :fii:i|As > 11 m s i fl validated."

Lr. facth Paul deari^ distinguishes between idols and likenesses, as h.^1 never i^l--. the word ' ¡lío"1 ieidvfon) in ,inv positive senseh in contrast to the termIikcji[homoiöma), which often hj^a positive meaning. In addition to itu1 jimvc: cited text from J Corinthians, Paul speaks nr uLi-ls, i lH I -■ I .a I r V- (pj^plpiflfriFia), idolater* d¿teived iirtrteriN Lí-lÍ

■jstrny by I hi' muk1 i tick {] Cor I 2:2) and given lip h\ ¡ -.ni :o lust and degradations nFvarious sorls Rom 1:24-27), Paul cIol-h nut, apparently, distinguish between idols ,li-.J lilienesses according to their model's occurrence 01 nonoccurrtnLt: in nature Thev simpl; have no life and gjnioi speak tcompare I C. m- 10:19),

(>fLyt:[]s .ii-^iiMU M.I points to ^ problem, however, in regard lo the different wiys the Mew testament Gospels and i pistles use the lerms " i iked ess11 i /n)/rr£jij} i* ■ ¡: i) andiiii.i ¡y' ■ f rtc¡ fj ) i r»r l.1 ■h j i i ■ pic„ in the story i-i the Liiin with the portrait ol the emperor I Mirk 12:lfi), the word used tor thai representation is ""image ' (fj'tJHh, while in Ac I s 14:1 ],the ltoivJh rnisuke rSarnab^s -■"t■-1 Paul for gods in human likeness (/rtJffrctiiJf^Tfnrcj^ In Rom ES 3, Paul says th.il tlod sent his own Son in ilit; likeness til human flesh (honmómati ídírtcj), although he later says ihat those who lave God \-.-ill be c* informed to an image (erJUvil of his hi. In i c.i:: 11men are the image (fjtorjj and glory of God, just as hum a mi bear the image (fJ^flFi) of the man of 1MI ( I f '■.>:■ 1£¡;49) and il someday be*r Hit i mage . j k . ■ p? ; > ■ i :he man of heaven {] i 15:49), tn 2 l III 1:4, < lirrl Li- the image (t-rír^ m ■ of God. Wherea.s in Phil 2:7, i I: list '.iki"-. ihe f-L^n. i (mtyrpho ") of a slave ¿nd is born in human likeness (homiomatianíbropoti), in t idn.ssians he is the image (fiii^r) of i lie invisible God 1:15). According to fas 3:9, humans art; made iji the likeness of ( iod (ftlífjjtfñisirr fta'tin). and m: 2 < ur y. ts. Paul wriií* il-.^i humanity will be transformed in!■ ■ the image (efton) oí the glory of the I ord. Apart hum [be first example (the coin portrait), I he general rule seems to be thin earthly representaliom have "likeness" while divine siinililude and future transformations are spoken of in terina "i in.ky.'"

Ucspite Pauls claim that idols are nonexistent objeciK, these: laie set-[]nd- L>r early third-century í hristian writers worried about thí pagan p rati ice oí idolatry, ¡md to some extent they assoeialed the making and use ol'visua' art in general with that practice. Hiey realised thai ueriain kinds of artworks could be misunderstood and abused or draw venera tii ir. oi" worship, and, in particular they warJied against in.iki ml', imiges >i\ ilu' pagan g,ods or other implements of pagan cult worship. I ut thet more, they worried about tlie temptations Lit the surrounding pigan eullurr and its alluring attractions. Most i hristian converts were lurnu-r polylheist^ and aspect* of liiar ptj]yl}icism were ubiquitous ( hristians liu. noienKi th^- hojineofa non i .hi i^ian neighbor in^m ercour-tc-rin^ 1 he domestic shrine to :ru- family's tutelary and ancesloi v nor could they Into the- public kiths ot theater, attend the ^.n-.n-n. or even enler ordinary publii buildings without confronting statues o\ the gods ind portrayals oi' tlieir nmhs <.<\: d^orpdsu, walls, and ccil-

i]iys.:' ul 1 heir high risk of contaminaron, painters and ■ncutp-

tors. alcii;^ w.lh ■ i-rs and even teachers of classical literature, were birred from baptism until they could demonstrate that they had left professions thai produced,used, or even brought Lhem into the proximity of these kinds of images.11

Resisting idolatry was not easy for Christians who lived in urban settings at that time. Their surroundings were filled with the temptations of luxuries as well as with signs and tokens of polytheistic religions. Greco-Roman cults depended on images, rituals, and public spectacles; they did not draw upon texts of sacred scriptures (apart from those myths found in the writings of 1 lomer and Hesiod) or dogmatic statements of faith. The traditional gods had shrines that were open and reflected civic pride and identity. Almost any aspect of daily life, even just passing through certain neighborhoods, brought early Christians into contact with images of the traditional Greek and Roman gods. Therefore, the earliest Christian writers who have been presented as objecting to pictorial art were actually pointing out inherent dangers that attached to the making or even admiration of things that were made for polytheistic cult. Given the wide distribution of such objects in the everyday world, even the most stalwart Christians might be implicated in a kind of accidental idolatry, even if they tried to steer clear of anything that might tempt or unwittingly taint the in,"

That Christians were unable always to avoid the images is apparent from the instruction about what they might do if they came into contact with the idols. Apparently some Christians practiced explicitly disrespectful behavior toward images or their altars. Tertullian refers to Christians spitting or blowing on smoking altars as they passed by, and according to the Octaviiis of Minucius Helix,Christians offended pagans by spitting on statues of the gods, perhaps as a way of protecting themselves against inherent and ever-present danger,B Tertullian assures martyrs that one of the advantages to Lheir imprisonment is the fact that they no longer have occasion to see strange gods or bump into their images and no longer can be even accidentally involved in some pagan feast or sacrifice/'1 Cyprian also urges Christians to avoid looking at the idols, even declaring that Christians who did not avert their eyes from the images were guilty of a form of apostasy, and their subsequent tears of penitence (a literal cleansing of the eyes) were a way to make satisfaction to God for their sins.JS

Thus, the typical early Christian theological position on visual art was less an objection to art as such than an attack on non-Christian images that invited worship and activities that drew the faithful into the values and practices (both religious and secular) of the surrounding culture. Significantly, these first- and second-century writers said almost nothing about Christian art, cifher because there was very little (or none) in their purview or because if there was, they did not see it as problematic. Clement's recommended motits for Christian signet rings offer such an example. Furthermore, these writers said very little about art that was basically secular or neutral and without obvious pagan reli-


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