Images of the Divine

The Theology of Icons at the Seventh Ecumenical Council


This book examines the theology of icons in the eighth century, the most critical period in the evolution of the Eastern Church's teaching on images. The principal source is provided by the acta of the Seventh Ecumenical Council of 787.
The political circumstances which led to the outbreak of the controversy over icons are discussed in detail but the main emphasis is on the theological arguments and presuppositions of the participants in the council. Major themes include the nature of tradition, the relationship between image and reality and the place of christology.
Ultimately the argument over icons was about the accessibility of the divine. Icons were held by the iconophiles to communicate a deifying grace which raised the believer to participation in the life of God.
Biographical Note
Ambrosios Giakalis is a graduate of the Universities of Athens and Cambridge, and he is at present General Director of the Youth Foundation of the Archdiocese of Athens.
Review Quotes
' Zu bewundern ist die Kraft der Synthese, mit der sehr verschiedene Vorstellungen und Traditionen in ein System gebracht worden sind.' Hans Georg Thümmel, Christianesimo della Storia, 1995. ' ...there has not been such a thorough, and thoroughly theological, discussion of the theology of icons at the Seventh Ecumenical Council for a long time. It is very welcome.' Andrew Louth, Jornal of Theological Studies, 1995. ' ...this book is a genuine contribution to theological thought and scholarship.' George T. Dennis, Theological Studies, 1994. ' This book is an important contribution to our understanding of the theology of the seventh ecumenical council of 787...This is a stimulating book and one which has long been needed.' Ken Parry, Sobornost, 1996.
All those interested in intellectual history, the history of the Church, the history of Eastern Orthodoxy, as well as patristic theologians and byzantine historians.
Index Card