"Let books be your dining table, / And you shall be full of delights. / Let them be your
And you shall sleep restful nights" (St. Ephraim the Syrian).

Monday, April 30, 2018

Theodore the Studite on Icons

It's been almost 40 years since St. Vladimir's Seminary Press published a translation of St. Theodore the Studite's On the Holy Icons. Apart from that, the only other work came out in 2015: another translation of his Writings on Iconoclasm.

But what we have not had until now has been a wide-ranging historical context in which to consider him and this work of his. That lacuna will be remedied in July with the publication of St Theodore the Studite's Defence of the Icons:Theology and Philosophy in Ninth-Century Byzantium by Torstein Theodor Tollefsen (Oxford UP, 2018), 208pp.

About this book the publisher tells us the following:

St Theodore the Studite's Defence of the Icons provides an investigation of the icon-theology of St Theodore the Studite, mainly as it is presented in his three refutations of the iconoclasts, the Antirrhetici tres adversus iconomachos. Torstein Theodor Tollefsen explores Theodore's 'philosophy of images', namely his doctrine of images and his arguments that justify the legitimacy of images in general and of Christ in particular. Tollefsen offers a historical, theological, and philosophical exploration of Theodore's doctrine of images and his arguments justifying the legitimacy of images and of Christ. In addition to the main elements of Theodore's defence of the icon, like the Christological issue, the relation between image and prototype, the question of veneration, his explanation of why we may say of an image that 'this is Christ', and his innovative thinking on the representative character of the icon, the book has an introduction that places Theodore in the history of Byzantine philosophy: He has some knowledge of traditional logical topics and is able to utilize argumentative forms in countering his iconoclast opponents. The volume also provides an appendix which shows that the making of images is somehow natural given the character of Christianity as a religion.

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