One does not need to consider John of Damascus to be a saint, or to accept that his writings on Christian images partook of the Holy Spirit’s guidance of the Church to greater and greater knowledge. That would be overstepping the boundaries of historical research. But one cannot refuse this notion either, because that too would entail crossing those boundaries. And, most importantly, one must, when he reads a passage like the following:
‘A certain conception through the senses thus takes place in the brain, which was not there before, and is transmitted to the judicial faculty, and added to the mental store.’ (John of Damascus, Apologia Against Those Who Decry Holy Images, Book I)
recognize that the author’s idea of the creation of meaning is not far removed from that of contemporary academic thought on art. He is speaking here of how images provide for our need for sensible things to render what is beyond sense, a notion that he borrowed from Pseudo-Dionysius.
. . . in his one new article in his new blog. (I mentioned this blog back on January 17, saying then that we were waiting content.) He welcomes us thus:
You are cordially invited to read once and reread as many times as you like, this little chronicle of je ne sais quoi. Dip into and splash about the lines that follow, or riff through them like you’re reading The Value of Pi to 750 000 Decimal Places
Together, we will read, ponder, and weep over, the following themes:
- Theology of art in Abrahamic religions
- History and character of the Early Christian Church (particularly as it is revealed in its visual art and iconography)
- Current state of affairs in art historical research, methodology, intrigues and chicanery and, above all:
- The brainteasing conundrums, bedazzlements and whodunits posed to us by the Shroud of Turin, the Sudarium of Oviedo, the Abgar legend, the Mandylion, the Veronica, the Uronica, the Holy Face of San Silvestro, the Holy Face of Genoa, the Holy Face of Lucca, the Holy Face of Montreuil, the Mannopello image, and various other images and relics, originating from the periods so wonderfully unrelated one to another as to include everything from the earliest Christian times all the way to AD 1934 and Saint Faustina’s Image of Divine Mercy.
See and read: Deum Videre: I am an art historian, therefore I believe: I.