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Subtle BodiesRepresenting Angels in Byzantium$
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Glenn Peers and A. Long

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780520224056

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520224056.001.0001

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Arguments Against Images of Angels

Arguments Against Images of Angels

(p.61) Two Arguments Against Images of Angels
Subtle Bodies

Glenn Peers

University of California Press

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

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