Not, I think, quite true

Built into overgrown hillsides all over this rugged island are crumbling chapels with medieval frescoes, saints with their eyes gouged out by Ottoman iconoclasts.

Yes, variations of Islam insist upon no representation of the human image. And yet iconoclast is more normally used for the variations of Christianity that insist upon the same thing, no?

Or is that just me?

12 thoughts on “Not, I think, quite true”

  1. Agreed, apart from later analogical use, a Christian phenomenon. From the OED:

    A breaker or destroyer of images; spec. (Church History) one who took part in or supported the movement in the 8th and 9th centuries, to put down the use of images or pictures in religious worship in the Christian churches of the East; hence, applied analogously to those Protestants of the 16th and 17th centuries who practised or countenanced a similar destruction of images in the churches.

  2. Iconoclasm entered Xianity through Leo III of Byzantium, but as wiki says

    Scholars have discussed the mutual influence of Muslim and Byzantine iconoclasm, noting that Caliph Yazid II had issued an iconoclastic edict, also targeting his Christian subjects, already in 721.

  3. The Guardian, so obviously it is “Ottoman” rather than “Muslim” iconoclasts who are responsible.

  4. In Islam, the iconoclasts won over time but, as I recall, the Umayyad mosque in Damascus still retains images of living creatures. In Xianity, the iconodules won, until a brief period in the Reformation. There was also a period of iconoclasm in Egypt during and after the reign of Akhenaten

  5. Exodus 20:4
    Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.
    Commendably clear, but v5 continues:
    Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them
    So images are OK as long as you don’t worship them – not sure where that leaves the left-footers with images of the Virgin.

  6. @Chris The early Church was quite pragmatic and extremely adept at rolling the mother/fertility godesses that were part of the pagan duality into the cult of the Virgin. Same with the female saints.

    There’s actually some hints/advice on how to do this in the AngloSaxon Chronicles, and other still extant sources, including papal bulls and advisories.
    Simply a matter of “this is our equivalent of.. so joining us doesn’t matter” to people already used to local variety in aspect worship. ( The “you should only” bit came, of course, later..)

    And this worked remarkably well, until a bunch of fanatics zealots beancounters philosophers like the autistic ranting fuck Luther, and later the even more deranged stricter certified nutcase Calvin championed the Purist form of religious madness worship, which was used by various political opportunists visionaries to push their own agendas for independence/power/influence on the european stage.

    The resulting pogroms were, of course, an unintended and unfortunate side effect of Necessary Change..

  7. Chris Miller

    “……as long as you don’t worship them –not sure where that leaves the left-footers with images of the Virgin.”

    Veneration, my heretical friend, veneration. Not “worship”.

  8. Clearly, then, television doesn’t exist in Saudia Arabia, Pakistan or Indionesia. And channels 800 to 839 doen’t exist on my set-top box.

  9. Oswald, the religion of Xmas.

    Not to be confused with Christianity, which includes loving your neighbours and is down on hate. So is not the Religion of Jean Calvin or iconoclast Byzantines.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *