John Of Damascus Essay

701 Words 3 Pages
John of Damascus was born c. 675- 749 in Damascus under Muslim rule. His father was a Christian believer that was employed by the Caliph. John followed in his father’s footsteps working for the Caliph but eventually became a monk near Jerusalem, where he studied, wrote and preached. Some of John 's writings became the cornerstone for Greek Orthodox theology, however John is most known for the support of icons in the Catholic Church. John held the position of a iconophile, which means icon loving. Although, in c.730 this was a very difficult position to take against the Catholic Church because the Byzantium Emperor Leo III banned icons and went on a campaign called iconoclasm to destroy paintings and sculptures. In one of John of Damascus’ famous …show more content…
John acknowledges the problem that iconoclasts believe in, which is that God is a spirt (invisible God), and that his divinity and immortality cannot be represented in the flesh. John ventures to explain to the Catholic Church and disproves the iconoclasts that God can indeed be represented because of the correlation between his definition of an image and God’s son Jesus. John defines an image as “a likeness of the original but not an exact replica”. John also explains how the Son of God, which is Jesus, is a form of God through a body of flesh that performs miracles, through Jesus’ miracles and actions one can see the awe of Gods greatness and power. John explains to that Catholic church that because God took the form of Jesus in flesh, that one can depict the likeness of God’s form in the flesh through Jesus’ actions and miracles and this perfectly represents God’s greatness. John argues against the iconoclasts and ultimately says that depicting God through his son Jesus is one of the best way to worship God’s …show more content…
John of Damascus defends the iconophile argument that images represent God’s greatness by drawing upon Dionysius’ theory, which believes that images are marked out beforehand like a builder mapping out a house, this house is invisible to the builder but the map of a house sheds light on what is to be expected. The theory of Dionysius is extraordinary because John incorporates and explains how God made images to faintly remember him like the Trinity, where the Trinity is depicted as the sun, rays of light, or a river and the Mother of God is represented as the staff or earthen jar. John argues to the Catholic church that these images were created by God so that in the future people could reference and remember his holiness and greatness and if we are to disregard these images we are ignoring God’s creations. Therefore, John of Damascus makes an argument to the Catholic church that we should venerate and honour the images God created just as we honour his saints, servants, and temples he created in Jerusalem because these images are created with Gods divinity and power. John of Damascus discuses that all of the matter God has made should be venerated for he is the creator of these images and anyone who despises matter is subject to Manichean heresy, this is a direct attack that John of Damascus takes on the policy’s emperor Leo III took.

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