Epiphanius of Salamis, Doctor of Iconoclasm? Deconstruction of a Myth
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Epiphanius of Salamis, Doctor of Iconoclasm? Deconstruction of a Myth represents a thorough examination of the dispute over the authenticity of five relevant texts of St. Epiphanius between iconoclasts and iconophiles in the 8th/9th century and between modern scholars in the 20th century: i) The postscript of a Letter of Epiphanius to John of Jerusalem; ii) The treatise of Epiphanius ... against those who make images of Christ, the Mother of God, the Angels and the Prophets; iii) The Dogmatic Letter; iv) The Letter to Epiphanius to the Emperor Theodosius; and v) The Will of Epiphanius addressed to the members of his Church. Following a brief introduction to Epiphanius' history, literary works, theology and the dispute over the alleged iconoclastic texts (ch.1), the author provides: an English translation of the above five documents (ch. 2); an analysis of the "Byzantine Controversy," which focuses on the arguments (against authenticity) of St. John Damascene, of the Seventh Ecumenical Council of Nicaea (787), of St. Nicephorus of Constantinople and of St. Theodore the Studite (ch.3); an analysis of the modern controversy focusing especially on the debate between Karl Holl (for authenticity) and George Ostrogorsky (against authenticity), including the reactions of several scholars (ch. 4); and, finally, a critical evaluation of the arguments for authenticity, which concludes that such arguments "are sufficient to justify their rejection." Fr. Bigham has convincingly argued that Epiphanius's so-called iconophobia, a notion that is present in the popular imagination and in scholarly works for nearly a century, is only a myth ... and, therefore, "the Christian tradition has been and remains fundamentally and essentially iconophile." This reexamination and reevaluation of the critical studies of the recent past is an excellent example of a post-modern criticism of criticism.