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Durham e-Theses
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Symbolism in religion, with special reference to Orthodox worship and its relevance for the free church tradition

Hutt, Robin Edward (1985) Symbolism in religion, with special reference to Orthodox worship and its relevance for the free church tradition. Masters thesis, Durham University.



The study begins by considering the nature of symbolism, and various types of symbol. It moves on to examine the power of visual images, and argues that a sense of that power may lie behind the Jewish prohibitions, and partly explain the persistent urge to produce visual images in the Church. The next stage examinee visual elements inevitably present in primitive Christianity, such as water in baptism, and the elements and utensils of the eucharist, which carried over Jewish symbolic associations. There follows an examination of the visual images consciously produced, particularly in the catacombs. It is argued that some pictures were felt to acquire a presence of their own, and this led to the development of the icon. The contextual influences in which the use of icons evolved are examined, before tracing the emergence of a theology of the image through the iconoclastic controversies. 'Attention moves to a consideration of developments in the West, from Charlemagne's reaction to the Second Council of Nicaea, through an examination of the moral, spiritual and theological influences of the Middle Ages, to the relevant decrees of the Council of Trent. The attitudes of the continental Reformers are discussed, before focussing attention on England. Reference is here made to the Thirty Nine Articles, Henrician iconoclasm, and contemporary arguments. The need for visual elements in the Free Churches is seen to be met initially in the place of the Bible and the imagery in the hymns of the Evangelical Revival. It is argued that the re-emergence of the image in its own right is a result of a renewed concept of the catholicity of the Church, and the influence of the liturgical and ecumenical movements. Examples are given of visual images incontemporary churches, and of the importance being attached to them. The conclusion suggests that there are pastoral and theological reasons for their re-emergence and continuing place.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Arts
Thesis Date:1985
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:16 Jul 2013 10:57

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