• "Credere virginem in corde per fidem": images of Mary in the Libri Carolini

    Diego Ianiro (see profile)
    Mariology, Carolingians, Byzantine Empire, Educaton, Philosophy, Medieval
    Item Type:
    Libri Carolini, Marian images, Carolingian liturgy, Paul the Deacon, Alcuin, Early medieval art, Byzantine studies, Medieval philosophy
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    During the sixth session of the Second Nicene Council, the image of the Virgin holding the Christ child was taken as a visual evidence of the fulfillment of an Old Testament prophecy: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son (Is 7, 14). For Byzantine theologians such a depicted prophecy could be misunderstood only by ignorant people; the learned ones, instead, should have to venerate and kiss it in order to be worthy of it. This statement is comprehensively commented in chapter IV, 21 of the Libri Carolini: as the prophecy is a matter of faith that cannot be seen but only believed; so the mysterium of virginity needs to be trusted “by faith in the heart.” Therefore, according to the Libri Carolini, the mystery of Mary cannot be seen or understood in pictures, and for the same reason adoring any image of the Virgin is a senseless act. This is the starting point for an enquiry on the representation of the Virgin in the eyes of Carolingian theologians, who seem to display a poor knowledge of – or a lack of interest in – the eastern Marian tradition. A draft of an unpublished article based on a speech for the session "New Feasts, New Sermons: The Cult of Mary on the Eve of Iconoclasm, in Byzantium and Beyond" (23rd International Congress of Byzantine Studies, Belgrade 22-27 August 2016).
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    3 years ago
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