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L’iconoclasme et son revers: naissance d’une philosophie de l’image à Byzance



Dealing with the historical, philosophical and theological problems arisen by the attitude of oriental Christians in front of the power of images, the present article proposes an investigation of the birth of the contradictory theological discussions generated by sacred images and of the evolution of what was later called the Byzantine “philosophy of image”. The starting point is the analysis and interpretation given by theologians like St. Augustin and St. Cyrillus of Jerusalem to a fragment of Paul’s second Letter to the Corinthians, analysis which shows that the problematic aspects of image as a concept and then as an object appears in a context dominated by the discussions around the dogma of Incarnation, the dogma of the Trinity and Christ’s nature. The premises of the iconoclastic attitudes are then taken into consideration, as well as John’s of Damascus’s theological arguments in favor of the sacred status of icons, the evolution of the promulgation of different edicts concerning the place and role of images in an orthodox Christian’s life, Leon IIIrd and Constantine Vth violent iconoclastic attitude towards religious images, and finally the authentic philosophy of images which took birth in the middle of the war between icons and idols.

Keywords: iconoclasm, Bzyantine orthodoxy, icon, image theology, image philosophy, Nicaea II, idolatry