Info

had in become visible had to come down to the human level, to "shm* up in j body so that humanity might see the Truth and through the Incarnate Christ recognize God (the Father).'

\:h.inasius consequently proposes that seeing serves an important function in the working of salvation, which in his v ku no* requires ihe recognition of God who appears in human -nrm in add lion to those pre*ioo.hly .siI.s1l- signs in creation, F loly Scripture, .liuI history, Sin< c so far these othei means had not -.LiL^L-ttlL-Ll. (iod chose in "meel humanity halfway' and on its physical reality In C. hrist's earth)y performance t.■ I iirlcs. and wonders, well -i^ in !iibirth, dcflth, and rrsirm Arh inasius see^ (¡ods nature, love, and rede npl plan revealed. More I hail i. Jrigen, AI ha nasi os helievcs I ha' seeing was a critical mfjTfli of knowing, not a metaphor for it. In the incarnation, the human race was directly and physically confronted with its potential. Now « ill- a \ isible model of its true sell", it could both -a1 origin and recognize iis destiny. 3n a more li:L-ra] seii^'. the (genisl proposal that what one looks at is what one becomes Is extended to Mil- print iple "look and live." Simultaneously, the emphasis on t hrist as the physical and incarnate model of salvation opens the possibility of seeing an actual pa nted portrait as an instructive and beneficial image, rather than as a iV. nihil idol. I he prototypc may be recognized through its representation and incorporated into ibe human idea t.■ I ilself.

The Invisible God in the Fourth Century

Shortly before At ha nasi us wrote his treatise on the incarnation, Arnobius, a Numidian convert and tcacher of rhetoric, launched a Late hut vehement—attack on iraditional polyibeism. }\\s exiremely zealous denunciation nt his former religion ma) have been paitly explained by the timing of his writing during the Great Persecution I t . ■ and by Lis hope convince others to convert as he did, hut it also revealed much about the state of Roman religion at ihe \ \:v.<.¡. 11 i s i reí il ise Agt ; nsl • he \ > ; tk vjî ans we rs pa 11 c h ,1 rges that the ( h ristia n religion wjxbringing Pomelo ruin .nul. i-i one long seclion, reprises the familiar apotoget c ridicule of mage worship, particularly among his N'nrth African neighbors: "And so, unmindful and I'orgclful of what the subslance and origin of itu- images iti\ you, rational beings and endowed with the gift ol wisdom and the discretion, sink down before pieces of baked earthenware, adore places of copper, beg from the tectb ol elephants lj.híi.ilL healih . .. and while il is plain and clear that '''"ii are speaking I o senseless things, vo.i think that you are heard, and lui-iu yourselves iiilu disgrace ol v»ur (iwn accord, by vainly anil credulously d ece i vin g you r-^1 I ves,"'' I n his work Arnobius also fo Hows the pattern ^ i by the apologists and assails Mil' polytheistic r.iof localizing l heir gods in a temple or image and uf presuming they have need of sac-r i m oes and gifts. And, like his ea rl ier coun terparts, h c defends the C hriv tian practice of refusing holh temples and images to tj^d. But within a few gen eratio n s, A rrn )bius s critique must ha ve seen : et I da i ed, due to the gradual demise of t radii tonal Roman religion and the spread of Christianity in llie Empire, Within a generation or two, the attention or Christian teachers shifted away from condemning external idolatry and focused instead or. attacking internal error, Idolatry was no longer a serious threat to I he faith—heresy was.

After the ¿diet of Milan, the function of the image began U> take on new significance in the dogmatií discussions of Christian theologians, 1 ike Athanasius, later fourth-cenlury Iheologians discussed the malter of divine images ai ,¡ whole new level, possibly because they felt less threatened by pagan idolatry but also inspired by their debates about the nature and relationship of the Divine Beings of the Trinity "Old by their efforts to rind appropriate terminology fori ¡od. Logos, and Holy Spirit, The ea rlier pattern of s pea king of the Logos as the vi sihl e m e n lber of t h e Trinity (as seen in lustin or Tertullian i continue-s, but within the polem icaf struggle to assert the unit)' and shared nature of the Godhead. Hor example, Basil of Caesarea s treatise < hi the Hoiy Spirit (written around 375 C.E.), emphasizes the unity of the E hree Persons against those who would divide or enumerate the Persons into a plurality of divine beings or reduce the Fïoly viril to the staius ol ,i mere creature, thus falling into llie error of polytheism. To illustrate his point, Basil employs an e*ample well known to hi-, enntemporaries, llie portrait of tin1 emperor an illustration that would have :>l-l-ii unthinkable i century L-.i r^ i l-:—.i nd argues that the Divñie I niage and Prototyjv share t h e sa me nature, which is not divided by the J'ncl that one is -^eii and the other unseen:

Haw, I Ik1 :\ if one .me one, are : hL-re nu I two p idsï I trca use we speak oía ¿ i n¡¿. and nl the Jtin^ i n i igt. -índ m ^i of Iwu U .-i ¡j;^ The majesty is nut 11> ■'■ en inlu [Wfl, i h. T ilk- j.I'.-t ■■ J¡ ■■ i dtd. 'I'll - so ví reigflry a nd ¿ i il hoi Lty oví i lií is one, and so thi dmaJoEj-1 ascribed by us i+- nut i1 ur.il I>u1 oik1: because 'lie hunoi paid to < he i ma v. t isse s o> ■ 111 r tie prototype. Now whai in the ok «se the im age i- hy : l-^m i n ai imitation i h c er 11 pei ùr'ï portrait], lhat ir: tht < >1 her lüí the ■ il i s by nalunr; and as in wo r k^ o i art, lhe 11 ker: ess is depend e nl -on [he form, w m thecal .if ihe-i -.m:- and u-.■ ■ ■ |-m■ ■.k.I iï■.- union insistí in the et lion ol the ( ¡odhcad.

Basil here specifies the important assertion that will hier belong to the defense of icons: that any honor paid to the image passes on to the prolotype. He continues by maintaining that the relationship of the Word .liid í iod i-, that of image and prototype, and he says that when one g.L/v1 .li t he bea uty of the image, (>ne is drawn up to the spect.iele o\

0 0

Post a comment