Jump to content


Photo
* - - - - 14 votes

Daniel 7:13: Is Christ the Son of Man AND the Ancient of Days?


  • Please log in to reply
75 replies to this topic

#21 Mina Soliman

Mina Soliman

    Regular Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 113 posts
  • Guest from Another Religious Tradition

Posted 23 February 2013 - 04:32 PM

What St John Chrysostom said above is the same that St John of Damascus is saying. He prepared them by giving them a shadowy glimpse of God incarnate. 

 

Yes...but St. John Chrysostom was only describing the Son of Man.  He did imply the Ancient of Days in Daniel 7 was the Father.  Notice the underline on the word "His".  In the context of the whole quote, he implies Moses, Elijah, Ezekiel, and Daniel "saw" the Father.

 

Notice also the claim of St. Jonah's website on St. John Chrysostom's commentary on Daniel:

 

It should be noted that this is not a commentary on the vision found in Daniel 7, and this is clearly demonstrated when one looks at the following citations in which St. John Chrysostom actually does discuss who the Ancient Days was in that passage.  In his commentary on Daniel, St. John says, this prophet "was the first and only one [in the Old Testament] to see the Father and the Son, as if in a vision"  (In Danielem (PG 56:231-233)).

 

So when you quote St. Athanasius and St. Cyril of Jerusalem (I don't know how the St. Ammonius quote refers to the Ancient of Days), it's not very clear in the quote they're talking about Daniel 7.  St. John Chrysostom also talks about Christ, calling him the Ancient of Days elsewhere, but NOT commenting on the vision in Daniel.  We can also say the Ancient of Days also appeared as a dove in Theophany and as tongues of fire in Pentecost because the Holy Spirit too is divine.  In fact, with the exception of St. Romanos the Melodist, and maybe the ancient Greek icon you mentioned, it seems that when specifically the vision of Daniel is mentioned in patristics, it almost always refers to the Father.  Even people you least expect, like Theodore of Mopsuestia also mentioned this is the Father.

 

Now, I also value consistency in argument, so you now sparked my interest here when you say:

 

Now there is a simple reason why God the Father depictions are forbidden and its the same case for depictions of the Holy Spirit. 

 

Does this mean that the depictions of the dove in Theophany or the tongues of fire in Pentecost are wrong?  And if that is true, then even the Ancient of Days icon of the 7th Century is also wrong because it depicts the glory of the Logos (let alone the bothersome notion it gives me that looks borderline Nestorian in its ideas)?

 

Looking forward to your answers.

 

Mina


Edited by Mina Soliman, 23 February 2013 - 04:35 PM.


#22 Kosta

Kosta

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,516 posts

Posted 23 February 2013 - 07:09 PM

The dove is what was seen in the baptism, In the theophania. It only symbolizes the presence of the Holy Spirit. Likewise wind represents the precense of the Holy Spirit. As does water (John 7.38-39, Rev22.1)and fire. In the icon of the Anunciation the Holy Spirit is represented as rays of light descending unto the Theotokos. The dove is not an incarnation of the Holy Spirit, to the ancients it symbolized peace and peace is an attribute of the Holy Spirit (Jn 20.21-22) That's why in certain miraculous manifestations doves are seen flying or why in certain ceremonies they are released into the air.

But in no way does the dove depict the Holy Spirit. We do not venerate a pigeon or light rays in images thinking we are paying homage to the Holy Spirit through them. The holy Spirit has no prototype to depict and thus veneration cannot pass onto it through an image. Only Christ Incarnate has a prototype to depict and just like in everything else we venerate the Father through Christ in the Spirit.


Edited by Kosta, 23 February 2013 - 07:13 PM.


#23 Kosta

Kosta

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,516 posts

Posted 23 February 2013 - 07:52 PM

Yes...but St. John Chrysostom was only describing the Son of Man. He did imply the Ancient of Days in Daniel 7 was the Father. Notice the underline on the word "His". In the context of the whole quote, he implies Moses, Elijah, Ezekiel, and Daniel "saw" the Father.



Mina



Jesus said to Phillip that when he Sees him he sees the Father. Paul says Christ is the image of the invisible God (Col 1.15)

John Chrysostom says, " For since His Son was about to appear in very flesh. He prepared them from old time to behold the substance of God, as far as it was possible for them to see it."

In the total Tradition of the Church, Daniel 7 represents the second Coming and Last Judgement, The Ascension to the Father and the Incarnation. The same way He ascends He will descend, as the Martyr Stephen saw it. But also it depcts when he descented into the womb and assumed humanity.

To leave no stone unturned lets see what St Cyril of Alexandria has to say in his Scholia on the Incarnation:

... yet is Emmanuel said to be (and rightly) out of heaven, for from above and out of the Essence of God the Father was His Word begotten. Yet He descended unto us when He was made Man; yet thus too is He from above. And John testified, saying of Him, He that cometh from above is above all, and Christ Himself saith to the people of the Jews, Ye are from beneath, I am from above...For we remember that He plainly says,And no man hath ascended up to heaven but He That came down from Heaven, the Son of man....

Jesus Christ was truly born of the Holy Virgin: yet we do not say that Jesus Christ was mere man, nor do we conceive of God the Word apart from His human nature but, we say that He was made One out of both, as God made Man, the Same begotten Divinely out of the Father as Word, and humanly out of woman as Man: not as though called to a second beginning of being then when He is said to have been born after the flesh: but begotten indeed before all ages, yet when the time came wherein He must fulfil the economy, born also of a woman after the flesh....


But note this, it was a man who was wrestling, and Jacob called him The Face of God: nor that alone, for he knew that He is God in truth. For I have seen (he said) God face to face and my life is preserved. For Emmanuel is by Nature God, yet is He called also The Face of God: for He is the Image of the Father's Substance: thus did He call Himself to the Jews, saying respecting God the Father, Nor have ye seen His Face and ye have not His Word abiding in you, for Whom He sent, Him ye believe not.

Blessed Daniel setting forth to us a dread vision says, I was seeing in a night vision, and lo with the clouds of Heaven came as it were the Son of Man and came even unto the Ancient of Days and they brought Him, into His Presence and there was given Him dominion and honour and a kingdom, and all peoples nations and languages shall serve Him: His Power a Power for ever which shall not pass, and His Kingdom shall not be destroyed. Hearest thou how he does not mention that he had seen simply a man, lest Emmanuel should be believed to be one of us and like as we, but as it were the Son of Man? For the Word being by Nature God was made in the likeness of men and was found in fashion as a Man, in order that in the Same might Both be conceived of, neither bare man nor yet the Word apart from manhood and flesh. Yet does he tell that to Him was given the princedom and honour which He ever had; for he says that all peoples nations and languages shall serve Him. Since therefore even when in the human nature the Only-Begotten Word of God hath the creature serving Him and the Princedom of His Father and Himself, and the holy Virgin bare Him after the flesh: how is not the holy Virgin conceived of as Mother of God?



As you can see, St Cyril ties the Daniel vision to the incarnation even mentioning the Virgin birth and Theotokos in the final passage even though it seems out of place.


Edited by Kosta, 23 February 2013 - 07:57 PM.


#24 Kosta

Kosta

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,516 posts

Posted 24 February 2013 - 07:33 AM

This is one of the earliest Trinity icons from the 11th century or so. It  depicts Christ as both; the Ancient of Days and in his adult incarnate form. Ths icon is from the Panagia Koumbelidiki Church of Kastoria Greece.  There really is no earlier Trinity icon in existence (except for the hospitality of Abraham, and the primitive symbolic imagery depicting 3 identical men ).

 

This icon though, evolved from an earlier image. In the earlier image Christ the Ancient of Days is depicted in the same way, but instead of an adut Christ, it depicts an infant Christ in his bosom. These earlier images DO NOT depict a dove.  In his book, 'Mary the Untrodden Portal of God"- George Gabriel has a photo from a 10th century illuminated manuscript of this earlier image. These images had nothng to do with the Trinity at all, but is based on the economy of God, as the Fathers and hymns of the Church teach:

 

   “Daniel saw a type and image of what was to be in the future, that is, the invisible Son and Word of God was to become truly man so He could be united with our nature.” (St. John of Damascus, On Divine Images, 3.26).

 

Furthermore by having the 'young" Christ within the bosom of the 'ancent" Christ instead of next to him, it lessened the fear of interpreting the icon in a nestorian manner.  Unfortunatley this depiction  morphed into the nonsensical "Paternity" icon, only if these iconographers read the words of St Athanasios:

 

The Ancient of Days became an infant.” (St. Athanasius, Homily on the Birth of Christ)

 

 

 

koumbelidiki-kastoria%20(18).jpg



#25 Olga

Olga

    Moderator

  • Moderators
  • 2,821 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 24 February 2013 - 12:58 PM

The pity about the image that Kosta has posted is that the Holy Spirit is shown as a dove within the roundel in Christ's lap, diminishing its canonicity.



#26 Mina Soliman

Mina Soliman

    Regular Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 113 posts
  • Guest from Another Religious Tradition

Posted 24 February 2013 - 05:46 PM

Dear Kosta,

 

It is pretty unclear from the Scholia what St. Cyril thinks concerning the vision of Daniel.  For he only talked about the Son of Man having creatures serving "the Princedom of His Father and Himself".  The wrestling of Jacob, he says that is the Word of God, but the vision of Daniel, it isn't clear what the Ancient of Days depicted really is.  But elsewhere, it is alleged St. Cyril to have written, as quoted from St. Jonah's website:

 

“Behold, again Emmanuel is manifestly and clearly seen ascending to God the Father in heaven… The Son of Man has appeared in the flesh and reached the Ancient of Days, that is, He has ascended to the throne of His eternal Father and has been given honor and worship…” (Letter 55, in The Fathers of the Church, vol. 77,

Washington: CUA Press, 1987, pp. 28, 29).

 

“"What is the meaning of 'he came unto the Ancient of Days' (Dan. 7:13)? Perchance it means coming to a place? But how could this be, it is stupid. The Divine would not be located in a place for it fills all things. What, then, is the meaning of 'he came unto the Ancient of Days?’ Plainly, it means that the Son came to the glory of the Father. And where is this seen? He [Daniel] speaks again and says the following, 'To Him was given honor and the reign.' For He heard the Father saying, 'Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies your footstool’.”(St. Cyril of Alexandria, PG 70, 1461B. Translated by George Gabriel)

 

Therefore, whereas it is not clear what the Scholia is telling us about the Ancient of Days (it certainly is clear in it that the Son of Man is Christ), elsewhere St. Cyril mentions the Ancient of Days being the "glory of the Father", or the "right hand" or "throne" of the Father.

 

 

 

The dove is what was seen in the baptism, In the theophania. It only symbolizes the presence of the Holy Spirit. Likewise wind represents the precense of the Holy Spirit. As does water (John 7.38-39, Rev22.1)and fire. In the icon of the Anunciation the Holy Spirit is represented as rays of light descending unto the Theotokos. The dove is not an incarnation of the Holy Spirit, to the ancients it symbolized peace and peace is an attribute of the Holy Spirit (Jn 20.21-22) That's why in certain miraculous manifestations doves are seen flying or why in certain ceremonies they are released into the air.

But in no way does the dove depict the Holy Spirit. We do not venerate a pigeon or light rays in images thinking we are paying homage to the Holy Spirit through them. The holy Spirit has no prototype to depict and thus veneration cannot pass onto it through an image. Only Christ Incarnate has a prototype to depict and just like in everything else we venerate the Father through Christ in the Spirit.

 

And you get no disagreement from me on this regard.  The question I asked you, which Olga seems to imply, are such icons canonical.  Because yes, these are in fact the representations of the Holy Spirit, and not the essence of the Holy Spirit Himself.  But if these are okay, but the Ancient of Days depicting the "glory of the Father" as not okay, then I see inconsistency, since there is a vast patristic support in writing (as opposed to iconography) that the Ancient of Days represents the Father, not an action of the Divine Nature waiting for the Human Nature to approach Him.

 

I find it very troubling that there be any icon depicting the "Ancient of Days" Christ and ANY human form (child or adult) of Christ, whether it be within the bosom of the Ancient of Days or outside it.  If you appeal to the symbolism that one within the bosom does "refute" any idea of Nestorianism, then I also find that inconsistent with the condemnation of the symbolism of the Trinity icons, whether it be the hospitality of Abraham or the Ancient of Days.  Maybe it's because of the background I come from being Coptic.

 

Iconology is a very understudied and patristically under-discussed topic, and from what I can see in these discussions, we seem to pick and choose what some fathers say over another.  There isn't even a Patristic consensus to begin with on rules of iconology.  We only seem to avoid iconographic depictions when it seems that it may lead a brother to sin, as St. Paul teaches, not necessarily because it was written as a rule of law by the Church fathers.  But as the population becomes more educated, and as icons are no longer a tool for the illiterate, but for the reception of grace through veneration, I think we need to take seriously some of what the ancient, pre-icon era fathers also taught, as this may eventually become a reason to draw things that were previously thought of as "uncanonical" or "prohibited."  In fact, even the use of the word "uncanonical" may also draw some debate because this means that like other canons, it is for a specific time, culture, and place, and may be irrelevant later on.


Edited by Mina Soliman, 24 February 2013 - 05:49 PM.


#27 Kosta

Kosta

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,516 posts

Posted 25 February 2013 - 08:03 AM

It is pretty unclear from the Scholia what St. Cyril thinks concerning the vision of Daniel. For he only talked about the Son of Man having creatures serving "the Princedom of His Father and Himself". The wrestling of Jacob, he says that is the Word of God, but the vision of Daniel, it isn't clear what the Ancient of Days depicted really is. But elsewhere, it is alleged St. Cyril to have written, as quoted from St. Jonah's website:

 

Quite true. The scholia is not clear. But the basis of his writing in that chapter is for Cyril to prove that certain visions of the OT were of the pre-incarnate God to people who rejected the title Theotokos. Thats why he asks in the final sentence, "How is the Virgin Mary not concieved of as Mother of God?" The Son of Man phrase by itself in Daniel would not prove divinity to his opponents, but it would if the Son of Man and Ancient of Days are mirror images of each other. Even if Cyril did not accept that interpretation, his opponents may very well have held that tradition. Cyril wants to persuade them to accept the title of Theotokos, even if it means to use a tradition they accept, but he himself does not.

That goes to my second assertion. That when taken all together there are three traditions with ties to Daniel 7 and all have something in common: 'Only He who ascended can descend".

1. Daniel's vision foreshadows the Incarnation. The Son of God descended into the womb and took on humanity. Secondly this economy shows the dichotomy of how Christ is ancient yet young. He is begotten eternally but born in time.

2, The Ascension- Christ the son of man is recieved and sits at the right hand of God the Father. The way he ascends is the same way he will return as witnessed by the martyr Stephen,

3. The last Judgement- He descends at the second coming where he sits in judgment. The river of fire is what tests and refines the virtues of Gold and silver, the vices burns the wood and hay (As Paul describes in Corinthians on what will happen "in that day")

That from the tradition of the Church only the interpretations which portrays Christ as the Ancient of Days can be depicted. This is not an opinion, but a historical fact. No mosaics or frescos exist in the ancient churches of Constantinople such as the Chora church depicting God the Father. No icons older than approx 400 years old exist on the Monastery of the Sinai depicting God the Father. I have never come across ancient depictions of God the Father in the Coptic tradition neither.

We know from the robber council of the iconoclasts that no mention of God the Father icons were ever mentioned in their council. No Father not even St Theodore the Studite ever had to tackle God the Father images because they did not exist. The Synodikon of Orthodoxy written in 843 a.d. makes clear that OT visions portraying God as the Father did not exist.
 

And you get no disagreement from me on this regard. The question I asked you, which Olga seems to imply, are such icons canonical. Because yes, these are in fact the representations of the Holy Spirit, and not the essence of the Holy Spirit Himself.

In an icon of the baptism, the depiction of a dove is appropriate. It was a historical event witnessed by all who were there. Likewise the depiction of flames in the icon of the Pentecost is appropriate as thats what historically happened.


It is uncanonical to depict a bird hovering between Christ and the Ancient of Days, just like it is uncanonical to depict a small fire or waterfall to depict the Holy Spirit. Its simply not sophisticated, and is not based on any historical event or theological motif or any vision seen by a prophet.

 

I find it very troubling that there be any icon depicting the "Ancient of Days" Christ and ANY human form (child or adult) of Christ, whether it be within the bosom of the Ancient of Days or outside it. If you appeal to the symbolism that one within the bosom does "refute" any idea of Nestorianism, then I also find that inconsistent with the condemnation of the symbolism of the Trinity icons, whether it be the hospitality of Abraham or the Ancient of Days.


I am open to labeling these "Ancient of Days becomes a child" icons as uncanonical, if they are indeed theologically deficient. They were not widespread, but it proves that the New Testament Trinity Icon as well as the Paternity renaissance paintings evolved because they were misinterpreted in the Russian sphere and have no theological value whatsoever.


The theological concept of the ancient and young Christ is a common theme in the liturgical texts of the Service of the Presentation. In our liturgical texts its almost exclusively taught that OT visions of God were all pre-incarnate appearances of the Logos. A theological motif exists in the very worship services of our church that the pre-eternal Ancient of Days becomes man, a motif that does not exist with the Father- thus no need to depict him at all,
 

Iconology is a very understudied and patristically under-discussed topic, and from what I can see in these discussions, we seem to pick and But as the population becomes more educated, and as icons are no longer a tool for the illiterate, but for the reception of grace through veneration, I think we need to take seriously some of what the ancient, pre-icon era fathers also taught, as this may eventually become a reason to draw things that were previously thought of as "uncanonical" or "prohibited."


I am optimistic as the population becomes more educated the NT Trinity icon will become extinct. (Notice how its called NT Trinity and not Daniel's Trinity). Its simply a mockery to the Holy Spirit to attempt to depict it as a bird. Its unsophisticated and theologically immature. By the way, it is forbidden to use symbols as substitutes for that which has a hypostasis in Canon 82 of Trullo and in the Synodikon.


Also as you can see antiquity is important to me. Let me show you how the theology of the ancient Christ and the young Christ motif goes back to earliest years of christianity:

First of all, sir, explain this to me: What is the meaning of the rock and the gate?This rock, and this gate are the "Son of God. How, sir?  The rock is old, and the gate is new. Listen, and understand, O "ignorant man. The "Son of God is older than all His creatures, so that He was a fellow-councillor with the Father in His work of creation: for this reason is He old .And why is the gate new, sir? Because, He became manifest in the last days of the dispensation: for this reason the gate was made new, that they who are to be saved by it might enter into the "kingdom of God. "(Shepherd of Hermas bk3 simil 9.12)140 a.d.


Edited by Kosta, 25 February 2013 - 08:14 AM.


#28 Olga

Olga

    Moderator

  • Moderators
  • 2,821 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 25 February 2013 - 09:00 AM

To add to Kosta's excellent posts on this matter, might I add the following:

 

Iconography and liturgical observance and hymnography go hand-in-hand. One is the visual, the other is the verbal counterpart of the consensus patrum. There may well be individual saints or Fathers who might have interpreted Daniel's vision as being of the Father, but is this the consensus of the Church as a whole? No, it is not.

 

The Divine Liturgy has, at its heart, the life of Christ. We also have various feasts dedicated to events in His earthly life, and of the Cross upon which He was crucified. The Holy Trinity is commemorated most explicity at Pentecost, and the feasts of the Transfiguration and Theophany also have a Trinitarian theme. The Holy Spirit has a feast as well, that of the day after Pentecost. All of these express the revelation of God, most clearly in the person of Jesus Christ, and in a more indirect manifestation, the Holy Spirit, the latter as tongues of fire at Pentecost, as a dove at Theophany, as the cloud of uncreated light surrounding Christ at Mt Tabor. All of these are depictable in icons. Any liturgical or scriptural mention of the Father is in ways which have no visual form  - a voice, or wind. The Father remains invisible, and beyond visual depiction.

 

Where are the Orthodox feasts dedicated to the Father alone? Where are the churches dedicated to the Father alone? That's right, there are none. This is completely consistent with accepted theology and revelation.



#29 Mina Soliman

Mina Soliman

    Regular Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 113 posts
  • Guest from Another Religious Tradition

Posted 26 February 2013 - 07:13 PM

Dear Olga,

 

The idea that there is a "few" fathers that interpreted the Ancient of Days in Daniel 7 is false.  The website I provided clearly shows that in fact that extremely few if any at all interpreted the Ancient of Days in Daniel 7 as the Son.  The few Church fathers you quote as saying the Ancient of Days was incarnate was not in reference at all to Daniel 7.  That's like saying when we call Christ the Pantocrator, that's in reference to the Creed.  That's a very troubling notion.  We need to DIFFERENTIATE between calling Christ the Ancient of Days and the vision reported in Daniel 7, which according to "consensus Patrum" (which is somewhat a flawed concept in my opinion, as we have seen with the Nephilim in another thread, but entertaining that logic), is the Father, NOT the Son.

 

With that being said, I haven't seen Kosta use the argument of "consensus Patrum", but if that would be an argument, then you would be surprised to find there is no real consensus, and if there is, the burden of proof actually supports the Ancient of Days IN DANIEL 7 being the Father.

 

Naming of churches or feasts is an interesting argument.  I would argue that the Trinity is celebrated in every feast.  The Incarnation involved the Trinity (the Holy Spirit came upon her, and power of the Father overshadowing), the Nativity involved the Trinity, and the Resurrection as well (there are verses that say the Father raised the Son, another verse ascribing the Resurrection of Christ by the Holy Spirit, and another verse alluding to the fact that Christ rose Himself).  The Pentecost also involves the Trinity, as the Holy Spirit, which proceeds from the Father is sent by the Son.  We have prayers in the Coptic tradition, some fractions addressed as prayers to the Son while others are addressed as prayers to the Father, and in the rubric of our liturgies, our liturgies can either be prayed to the Father or to the Son.  We have extremely few prayers addressed to the Holy Spirit.  At the moment, I can only think of one.

 

I'd be interested to know if there are any ancient Churches named after an event of Christ, Christ, or the Holy Spirit?  For us as Copts, we practically have none of that.  We have churches named after saints only.

 

Dear Kosta,

 

Bear with me.  I know you've been very patient with me discussing this.

 

St. Cyril if you look closely in the Scholia really only talks about the Son of Man.  He says here that it's not merely "man" He is called, but "Son of Man" to allude to his eternal existence before.  St. Cyril is actually saying the phrase "Son of Man" alludes to something mysterious about this person as being more than "man", and in the context of the verse, what was given this Son of Man?  "dominion and honour and a kingdom, and all peoples nations and languages shall serve Him: His Power a Power for ever which shall not pass, and His Kingdom shall not be destroyed".  Here the Son of Man approaches the Kingdom of the Ancient of Days receiving the same Kingdom the Ancient of Days has, which shows indeed His equal and eternal nature with the Father.  Yes, we can say by nature, the Son of Man, Christ that is, is also the Ancient of Days.  So I agree with the Church fathers who say that the Ancient of Days was incarnate into a child.  There is nothing wrong with saying that, and your quote from the Shephard of Hermes does not change anything in the argument.  Just as there's nothing wrong with saying Christ is the Pantocrator.  In fact, according to Isaiah 9:5, we can even call Christ "everlasting Father" even though He and the Father are distinct hypostases.  But just because we call Christ (and possibly the Holy Spirit) Ancient of Days, Pantocrator, and everlasting Father, does that mean that Daniel 7, the Creed, and Isaiah talked about something other than what the Church fathers talked about?

 
Now you allude to two other arguments concerning why we shouldn't have the icon of the Father as Ancient of Days:  absence of evidence and icons that depict symbols of the Holy Spirit within historical context.
 
Your argument concerning the non-existence of icons is interesting.  As we know, icons were not a very popular commodity to have, either that or they were destroyed and we have little survived from before the fifth century.  Very very very few icons or iconographic figures exist as good ancient of examples of "canonicity".  I'd venture to say iconography evolved into the "canonical" forms we have today.  What is there to say iconography won't evolve into something more?  And just as Olga alluded to concerning absence of evidence, I'd like to know are there any ancient churches named after events of Christ, or Christ, or the Holy Spirit?  If there aren't then this also calls into question the "canonical" practice of naming churches today.  Should churches be named only after saints?  Should churches be named after places?  Just because there was no mention of icons does not mean it's uncanonical.  There's no mention of how we should do the sign of the Cross before a certain time either.  Should it be right to left, or left to right?  Should we use the Christogram or three fingers?
 

You also allude to "historical fact" as exceptions to the rule of depicting certain figures in the icons.  If that is true, then we shouldn't snip pieces of "historical fact" and put it icons, as you stated.  We shouldn't depict the presence of the Holy Spirit as dove apart from the Baptism at Jordan.  For consistencies sake, then the icon you showed me of the 11th Century is indeed questionable.  But then what about revelatory icons?  Christ the Pantocrator icons might be argued as uncanonical because this isn't a historical icon but a revelatory icon.  The seven-horned, seven-eyed Lamb of God depicted in the book of Revelations, as you also mentioned in the Trullo canon, would also be condemned.  Then, the Ancient of Days is also revelatory and just because we have plenty of Patristic evidence, NOT A FEW, that can interpret such revelation as the Father doesn't make it right to draw it either.  So, really, then, ANYTHING revelatory is wrong.  How can we draw Christ sitting on a throne, or "the right hand of the Father" if these are not historical but revelatory.  Unless, you would argue that revelatory is historical, in which case, then once again, the rules of iconography would seem arbitrary.  Should anything written in the Scriptures should be, excuse the inappropriateness of the phrase, "fair game"?  Or only history?
 
 
 

I am optimistic as the population becomes more educated the NT Trinity icon will become extinct. (Notice how its called NT Trinity and not Daniel's Trinity). Its simply a mockery to the Holy Spirit to attempt to depict it as a bird. Its unsophisticated and theologically immature. By the way, it is forbidden to use symbols as substitutes for that which has a hypostasis in Canon 82 of Trullo and in the Synodikon.

 
 


Two things I'd like to comment on here.  One, the perceived mockery of the Holy Spirit as a "bird".  I think this is a poorly worded statement.  If it's a mockery, why then was it pictured for us in the gospels in the Theophany at Jordan?  Are the gospels mocking the Holy Spirit?  Perhaps, we can say, theologically, anything we say about the divinity of the Trinity is a mockery in truth, for what we say will limit God, and silence would seem to be the best option for depicting the true essence of the divine nature.  But inasmuch as we are limited in our natures, all we say and do have limitations.  We can simply give depictions or say things about God with disclaimers of what our depictions or what we say is not, and so balance our depictions and writings with a cataphatic understanding of God.

 

Your argument concerning context of history is well-received, but your description of the depiction as a mockery only adds more questions as to whether you consider the gospels mocking the Holy Spirit.

 

The second thing:  Trullo's Canon 82, which I find it both odd and interesting.  Earlier, you argue the absence of evidence concerning icons of the Father, and now you argue for a canon that disallowed from henceforth any icons of a lamb depicting Christ, despite the fact that these icons have ancient precedence.  This raises the question then why?  Was it because of some perceived canonical rules of drawing icons that were passed down by oral tradition?  Or was there something else going on, such as a wrongful veneration and interpretation of these particular icons?  If the latter, then it only increases strength to the idea that iconography rules change based on the offenses it causes in its cultural and historical context, not some pre-perceived iconographical rules.

 

To leave no question unanswered, from what I understand, there is no Coptic icon of the Father in ancient history.  There are ancient Ethiopian icons of the Trinity, as three "Ancient of Days" equal figures, giving the blessing with the Christogram in their hands.  That's pretty much the extent of iconography I know with the Coptic Church and associated areas.  Despite separation from Chalcedon, I do believe a lot of our iconographical tradition is consonant with Roman imperial rules, not because of a pre-Chalcedonian tradition, but in fact, post-Chalcedonian involvement with even Chalcedonian churches in understanding what our architecture should be.  We also have the tradition of Christ the Pantocrator giving the Christogram, and we have iconostases, all of which are Roman imperial cultural expressions of Church internal architecture and iconographical style.  Some of our iconostases on the other hand however seem to either have symbols rather than icons embedded in them, or in a few cases rather than Christ the Pantocrator icon on the right and Theotokos on the left, it would be the Theophany icon on the right, Theotokos on the left, and Christ the Pantocrator in the middle, forming a sort of "Deisis Iconostasis".

 

Perhaps, one can wonder what iconographical traditions were outside the empire, such as the Armenian and Syriac-associated churches which were on the edge of the empire.

 

 

As you can see, I value consistency more than anything.  I believe our Church dogmas are consistent.  But in the area of iconology, I find the "canons" arbitrary.
 


Edited by Mina Soliman, 26 February 2013 - 07:21 PM.


#30 Mina Soliman

Mina Soliman

    Regular Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 113 posts
  • Guest from Another Religious Tradition

Posted 27 February 2013 - 01:24 AM

 Two things I'd like to comment on here.  One, the perceived mockery of the Holy Spirit as a "bird".  I think this is a poorly worded statement.  If it's a mockery, why then was it pictured for us in the gospels in the Theophany at Jordan?  Are the gospels mocking the Holy Spirit?  Perhaps, we can say, theologically, anything we say about the divinity of the Trinity is a mockery in truth, for what we say will limit God, and silence would seem to be the best option for depicting the true essence of the divine nature.  But inasmuch as we are limited in our natures, all we say and do have limitations.  We can simply give depictions or say things about God with disclaimers of what our depictions or what we say is not, and so balance our depictions and writings with a cataphatic understanding of God.

That last part should say "with an apophatic understanding of God", not cataphatic.



#31 Kosta

Kosta

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,516 posts

Posted 27 February 2013 - 07:15 AM


The idea that there is a "few" fathers that interpreted the Ancient of Days in Daniel 7 is false. The website I provided clearly shows that in fact that extremely few if any at all interpreted the Ancient of Days in Daniel 7 as the Son. The few Church fathers you quote as saying the Ancient of Days was incarnate was not in reference at all to Daniel 7. That's like saying when we call Christ the Pantocrator, that's in reference to the Creed. That's a very troubling notion. We need to DIFFERENTIATE between calling Christ the Ancient of Days and the vision reported in Daniel 7, which according to "consensus Patrum" (which is somewhat a flawed concept in my opinion, as we have seen with the Nephilim in another thread, but entertaining that logic), is the Father, NOT the Son.

Mina,
Correct most of the Fathers interpeted 7.12 as the Son having ascended to the Father. From the Nephilim thread we realize many Fathers held the book of Enoch in high esteem and it certainly influenced the Genesis interpretation.

Likewise we see the earlier Fathers interpret Daniel to be God the Father but this was before the East fully accepted the book of Revelation. As the East started accepting the book of Revelation more and more, following the council of 381AD ad the decrease in a belief in chiliasm, more Fathers took Reveation seriously. From their reading in Revelation of the Ancient of Days as Christ a new theological motif emerged.

Now we seem to be stuck on two issues. The interpretation of Daniel7 on one hand, and whether or why God the Father depictions are uncanonical.
 

With that being said, I haven't seen Kosta use the argument of "consensus Patrum", but if that would be an argument, then you would be surprised to find there is no real consensus, and if there is, the burden of proof actually supports the Ancient of Days IN DANIEL 7 being the Father.


What i think Olga means by 'consensus Patrum" is what is actually taught throughout the Liturgical cycle of the Church, whether its in Her services, hymns, dogmas, and icons as well. I Dont know what the understading is in the non-chalcedon Churches, but in Chalcedonian Orthodoxy, the totality of Her liturgical services is the very vehicle which transmits the fullness of the Faith. Thus the consensus of her Services outweighs the interpretation of individual Fathers.
 

St. Cyril if you look closely in the Scholia really only talks about the Son of Man. He says here that it's not merely "man" He is called, but "Son of Man" to allude to his eternal existence before. St. Cyril is actually saying the phrase "Son of Man" alludes to something mysterious about this person as being more than "man", and in the context of the verse, what was given this Son of Man? "dominion and honour and a kingdom, and all peoples nations and languages shall serve Him: His Power a Power for ever which shall not pass, and His Kingdom shall not be destroyed". Here the Son of Man approaches the Kingdom of the Ancient of Days receiving the same Kingdom the Ancient of Days has, which shows indeed His equal and eternal nature with the Father. Yes, we can say by nature, the Son of Man, Christ that is, is also the Ancient of Days. So I agree with the Church fathers who say that the Ancient of Days was incarnate into a child.


The title 'Ancient of Days" originates in Daniel. The concept of the "Ancient of Days becomes a child" is indeed a very early teaching. Gregory Thaumatourgos in 260 a.d. used the phrase in his homily on the Nativity. In Cyril's schollia of the Incarnation he introduces another concept. That is he constantly refers to Christ by his birth name of Emmanuel. This is appropriate, St. Cyril is speaking of Christ's conception and birth, and Emanuel (God with us) is preferable than calling him Jesus when speaking of the incarnation.

Now as I said, St Cyril wants people to accept the title of Theotokos, these opponents already believe that Christ recieved the Kingdom and power and glory. No nestorian and/or antiochan would argue with this. Instead St. Cyril needs to tie the Ancient of Days and Son of Man in Daniel with the person of Emmanuel.

Now as a Copt you may appreciate this. The earliest Ancient of Days icons were also refered to as Emmanuel icons. In fact the oldest Ancient of Days icon that we have in existence dates to the 7th century and is 'probably' of Coptic origin. Its found in the Sinai Monastery and this is it:

10284-0.jpg

If you look right above the gospel book held by Christ the two remaining letters H and the greek letter lambda. The inscription is greek for Emmanuel. The question then is why did Philochristos (the owners name with a prayer of foregiveness is on the border) paint an icon of Emmanuel which depicts Christ as the Ancient of Days? There must have been some tradition for this and possibly (especally if its of Coptic origin) it was influenced by St Cyril's scholia.
 

For consistencies sake, then the icon you showed me of the 11th Century is indeed questionable. But then what about revelatory icons? Christ the Pantocrator icons might be argued as uncanonical because this isn't a historical icon but a revelatory icon. The seven-horned, seven-eyed Lamb of God depicted in the book of Revelations, as you also mentioned in the Trullo canon, would also be condemned. Then, the Ancient of Days is also revelatory and just because we have plenty of Patristic evidence, NOT A FEW, that can interpret such revelation as the Father doesn't make it right to draw it either.


I think the confusion is because we come from two different traditions and we are looking at this through different lenses. The icon of the 11th century is uncanonical in my opinion. I wanted to show how the renaisance painting of the NT Trinity icon evolved. What i said about the paternity russian icons evolving from a misinterpetation of earier icons (of a different subject matter) then further infuenced by the naturalistic style of the west was more for chalcedonians who want to know how these russian icons came to be.

Now the reason icons of Christ can exist is the entire reason icons can exist. Because God became man. This is the entire argument of the 7th Ecumenical council and its dogmas. A denial to depict Christ is a denial of the incarnation. I have never seen an icon of a 7 horned, 7 eyed lamb icon and, yes it would be uncanonical.

And thats my whole point. The closest vision of the Trinity in all of scripture is found in Revelations 22.1. Yet there has never been an icon painted depicting Rev 22.1. In 2000 years of history no icon painter has attempted to paint it. The closest is the 11th century icon i posted, but instead of water pouring forth from the throne someone painted Christ holding an orb with a dove. Not to mention the Anceint of Days is Christ and not the Father. If someone is going to claim the NT Trinity icon is from a vision, then it would not depict a dove it would depict a stream of water and all would be seated on the same throne.

Now there is a popular icon from Revelation and the original is located at the Monastery of the Apocalypse on Patmos. It depicts the apostle John in a trance dreaming of 7 candlesticks with Christ depicted as the Ancient of Days.
 

The second thing: Trullo's Canon 82, which I find it both odd and interesting. Earlier, you argue the absence of evidence concerning icons of the Father, and now you argue for a canon that disallowed from henceforth any icons of a lamb depicting Christ, despite the fact that these icons have ancient precedence. This raises the question then why? Was it because of some perceived canonical rules of drawing icons that were passed down by oral tradition? Or was there something else going on, such as a wrongful veneration and interpretation of these particular icons? If the latter, then it only increases strength to the idea that iconography rules change based on the offenses it causes in its cultural and historical context, not some pre-perceived iconographical rules.



According to the canons, theres no need to depict St John the Baptist pointing at a lamb when it was God incarnate that he pointed to. God was born man not a lamb, so you dont have to depict him in symbol. Likewise we venerate the image of the prototype, thus its wrong to depict the prototype as a lamb.

The Synodikon of Orthodoxy which is basically a dogmatic statement also opposes depicting the Theotokos as a symbol:


5. Those who know that the rod and the tablets, the ark and the lamp, and the table, and the altar depicted in advance and prefigured the All-holy Virgin, Mary, the Mother of God; and also that these things prefigured her, and she did not become them, for the maiden was and remained after giving birth to God a virgin, and therefore the maiden is to be depicted in images rather than foreshadowed in types:

May their memory be eternal!





.


There are ancient Ethiopian icons of the Trinity, as three "Ancient of Days" equal figures, giving the blessing with the Christogram in their hands. That's pretty much the extent of iconography I know with the Coptic Church and associated areas. separation from Chalcedon,



Do you have a photo of this image? Do you know if they are sitting at a table? Many of these icons are actually icons of the Hospitality of Abraham . The eariest image of Abrahams hospitality is found in the catacombs of Rome from about 350 a.d. It depicts Abraham and three identical men all giving a blessing. This is the icon:

fresco%204th%20c.jpg

By the 12th century the icon of Abrahams Hospitality depicted angels, but all three still bless using a Christogram:



abraam4.png


Edited by Kosta, 27 February 2013 - 07:20 AM.


#32 Olga

Olga

    Moderator

  • Moderators
  • 2,821 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 27 February 2013 - 07:37 AM


What i think Olga means by 'consensus Patrum" is what is actually taught throughout the Liturgical cycle of the Church, whether its in Her services, hymns, dogmas, and icons as well. I Dont know what the understading is in the non-chalcedon Churches, but in Chalcedonian Orthodoxy, the totality of Her liturgical services is the very vehicle which transmits the fullness of the Faith. Thus the consensus of her Services outweighs the interpretation of individual Fathers.
 

 

Yes, Kosta, this is exactly what I mean by consensus patrum - the hymnographic, conciliar and iconographic deposit being the clearest and most accessible source of it. The consensus of these indeed overrides any dissenting statements by individuals, even if they be saints or Fathers. Lex orandi, lex credendi.



#33 Mina Soliman

Mina Soliman

    Regular Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 113 posts
  • Guest from Another Religious Tradition

Posted 28 February 2013 - 07:04 PM

Dear Kosta and Olga,

 

Thank you again for bearing with me in this discussion.  I probably have little else to add to the discussion.  But I appreciate you patiently answering my points of disagreement.

 

I don't know the exact history of where this comes from, but it is an interesting aspect of Ethiopian iconography that actually Coptic iconographers at the moment do not accept as "canonical."  As far as I've seen, we never even have any icons of the hospitality of Abraham, and usually, the accepted interpretation of the event is the Logos with two angels (so if anything, I'm playing devil's advocate against my own Church's iconographical rules  :P ).  

 

Probably the most famous example of the Ethiopian Trinity icon is located at the 17th Century Debre Berhan Selassie Church in Gondar, Ethiopia:

 

http://www.sacred-de...ssie-church.htm

http://www.facebook....sie.church/info

 

Here's the interior of the Church, towards the West, where the entrance doors of the Church are:

 

ethiopia255.jpg

 

 

Here's a closeup of the Trinity icon:

 

3_gods_15874.gif

 

An Ethiopian friend tells me that the letters spell out "Se-la-sie" or Trinity

 

 

Here's another one at the Nave of the Holy Trinity Cathedral at Adis Ababa, which is too large to just add to this thread, so here's the link:

 

http://commons.wikim...3435015739).jpg

 

And many more examples.  If you google "Ethiopian Trinity" or "Ethiopian Trinity icons" you'll find plenty of examples.  The striking features about these is they carry a globe in each of their left hands (usually), and with the right hand (usually), they do a blessing, usually the traditional Christogram, and they all look the same, with each looking like the Ancient of Days, and surrounded by the four Incorporeal Creatures.  Some Ethiopian icons I've seen where the three Ancient of Days figures do a blessing in one hand, and the three hands all carry one globe with a Cross.  One Ethiopian icon I've seen meshes three faces together in one head.  I do not know how old this tradition is, but it seems the whole iconographic tradition of the Ethiopian Church is relatively recent compared to the Coptic Church, which coincides with the iconographic tradition of the Roman empire.

 

On the question of Concensus Patrum, a combination of Scriptural, Patristic, Prayer collections, and Liturgical traditions is also what is followed by the Coptic Church.  Nevertheless, as I have seen, even liturgical traditions seem to evolve or change over the centuries.  It seems the liturgical traditions before Chalcedon were quite simplistic, and while we maintained the rubrics of that simplistic tradition, we embellished and added upon it century after century, with newer iconography and hymnography.  In addition, it seems to me liturgical and patristic traditions at times coincide and overlap, as sometimes one may be influenced by the other.  And all this is based on the assumption that all of these aspects of our tradition agree.  As far as I'm aware, where Patristics and Liturgical traditions differ for example, we have no way of deciding which takes precedence, as of yet.  Thankfully, in my opinion, if there are differences, these are on minute aspects of Church tradition, and not on essentials of dogma.

 

In the end, I think I see many of these iconographic issues as theologomenoun, once again, in the manner as I expressed the Nephilim issue as theologomenoun.  It is a pious tradition that I feel has no bearing on salvation or Orthodoxy.  But what we can agree on is that we follow whatever the Church through her Synodical traditions rules and through obedience and trust in the Holy Spirit's guidance.  We know always that even through confusing moments like this, the Holy Spirit will guide the Church in the right path, and that we ask for God's mercy if we erred in anything at the moment.  I see much agreement therefore between the Coptic Church (at least) and the Eastern Orthodox on this regard.

 

Seeking your prayers.


Edited by Mina Soliman, 28 February 2013 - 07:11 PM.


#34 Kosta

Kosta

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,516 posts

Posted 01 March 2013 - 08:43 AM

Thanks for the lengthy discussion Mina.  I appreciated this thread, it got me in the mood to learn more on the subject. Those are nice frescoes. I read somewhere that encaustic icons (the paint technique used before the 8th century) which are the earliest icons we have are about 70 total in existence. With some originating in the Alexandrian region. I wish someone would publish them all in a book.



#35 Mina Soliman

Mina Soliman

    Regular Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 113 posts
  • Guest from Another Religious Tradition

Posted 01 March 2013 - 05:12 PM

Thanks for the lengthy discussion Mina.  I appreciated this thread, it got me in the mood to learn more on the subject. Those are nice frescoes. I read somewhere that encaustic icons (the paint technique used before the 8th century) which are the earliest icons we have are about 70 total in existence. With some originating in the Alexandrian region. I wish someone would publish them all in a book.

 

Indeed!  I've always wanted to see if there be a major publication of a chronology of the most ancient icons we have to the medieval period.  It would be a great tool to study and to understand how iconography has evolved.



#36 Hieromonk Ambrose

Hieromonk Ambrose

    Regular Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 292 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member
  • Verified Monastic Cleric

Posted 04 January 2015 - 10:09 AM

Fr John Whiteford, with his customary thoroughness, has prepared a compendium of patristic citations.

 

I apologise for coming late to the discussion, but I thought it was useful to have the quotations in one place on a webpage.

 

www.saintjonah.org/articles/ancientofdays.htm



#37 Kosta

Kosta

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,516 posts

Posted 04 January 2015 - 03:46 PM

Ironically Fr John on his page has an icon in which Christ is depicted as the ancient of days mistaking it for a depiction of the Father. Still an uncanonical image.

#38 Rdr Andreas

Rdr Andreas

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 5,028 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 04 January 2015 - 08:51 PM

So there can be no question but that this is an icon of the Holy Trinity in some sense -- obviously not in the sense that the invisible Godhead is
depicted.  St. Ambrose speaks of this as having been a type of the Holy Trinity.

...
if we can accept this as icon of the trinity because it depicts a type of the Trinity, why can we not also depict the Ancient of Days as a type of the
Father.


From Fr John Whiteford’s piece.


This is to misunderstand St Andrei Rublev’s icon.


St Nikon (St Sergius's first disciple) commissioned the Trinity icon. It was commissioned for a very particular purpose. Those who think this icon represents God the Father (and the other Persons of the Holy Trinity) are failing to interpret it correctly. It is an explanation of the Holy Trinity, not a depiction of God. At that time in Russia, there was confusion and even heresy abroad concerning the Holy Trinity, including rejection of any notion of the three hypostases. It was against this background that St Nikon fought for the Orthodox theology of the Holy Trinity, and St Andrei's icon is a piece of theological exegesis, not a depiction of God or of the Persons as such but only in a symbolic way. Furthermore, St Nikon wanted to express to the feuding Russian princes what the ideal of divine love is, and the icon expressed this through its complex unifying geometry.



 

 



 



#39 Kosta

Kosta

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,516 posts

Posted 05 January 2015 - 12:24 AM

I want to expand on Andreas post. Many byzantine icons of the trinity have the center angel with a cross on its halo. This is because it was recognized as a pre-incarnate appearance of Christ, "the angel of the Lord". The other two angels in the narrative left Abraham and traveled to Sodom while the one angel refered to as "Lord' stayed behind.

Regardless, any veneration given to this icon does not pass onto the uncreated Trinity, for no prototype can exist for that which is uncreated and infinite, there is nothing for the veneration to pass onto. What is venerated is the historical event which is the hospitality of Abraham.

#40 Rdr Andreas

Rdr Andreas

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 5,028 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 05 January 2015 - 12:46 AM

There is no cross in the halo of the central figure of St Andrei's Trinity icon because (it has been argued in the standard Russian work on the icon) St Andrei deliberately left it uncertain Who is Who so as to emphasise the undivided nature of the Three Persons. If we venerate the St Andrei Trinity icon as a theological icon (and those icons which take it as their prototype) meaning as an expression of the theology of the Trinity and not as a representation of the three Persons, then 'we worship the undivided Trinity Who has saved us' as we sing near the end of the Divine Liturgy: the icon is an equivalent to our hymns to the Holy Trinity, the visual counterpart to the written words. The inner unity of the icon reflects the fact that we refer to the Trinity in the singular - 'has saved us'.


Edited by Reader Andreas, 05 January 2015 - 12:57 AM.





0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users