Chapter

Arguments Against Images of Angels

Glenn Peers

in Subtle Bodies

Published by University of California Press

Published in print February 2001 | ISBN: 9780520224056
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520925137 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520224056.003.0003
Arguments Against Images of Angels

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The iconography of angels is essentially symbolic in that it relates a human form sometimes assumed by angels but not descriptive of their real nature. This symbolic iconography was evidently not suitable to all Christians, and texts from the fourth century reveal that such images of angels had excited opposition. It is said that the dangers of idolatry that was attached to material images and to angels themselves were important considerations. This chapter seeks to isolate these strands of theological discussion concerning the images of angels and argues that these strands influenced one aspect of iconoclastic opposition to symbolic images of angels. This chapter examines the particular historical context for these sources and conclude with an examination of the common concerns that allowed historical authors to be harnessed to the iconoclastic cause.

Keywords: symbols; images; historical context; Christian; angels

Chapter.  10825 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Archaeology

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