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Biblical Warrant and Christian Action, Lecture 1: "Thou Shalt Not Make A Graven Image"
AuthorFroehlich, Karlfried
Description22 pages
GenrePublic Lecture
TopicsTen commandments — Images
NotesPart 1 of a series on Christian interpretation of the Decalogue given as alumni lectures at Princeton Theological Seminary, May 31 - June 1, 1990.
AbstractThe fascinating understanding of this the longest of the biblical "Ten Words" went from the prohibition of all figural art in Judaism and the early Christian Fathers, which was continued by a resurgence of iconoclasm in the 8th century AD and in parts of the Protestant Reformation, to a slow process of acceptance under the pressure of the surrounding culture. The Christian East justified icons by an incarnational argument and by stressing the intention of the command as combatting idol worship, not art in general. The West embraced Pope Gregory the Great's endorsement of images as an educational tool for the illiterate, and the main Reformers of the 16th century promoted the existing middle course: "We neither worship nor destroy," allowing at least some form of figural art in the religious life of their adherents.
ContributorPrinceton Theological Seminary
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