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Narn Thinking on The Scriptures as Ikon

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  1. 8 years ago

    Very nice. I have a long essay which I am going to publish in a future book that explores “iconic heresy” in the later Middle Ages, with special reference to King Philip the Fair of France. Philip took his royal religion more seriously than perhaps anyone else in his family tree, which is saying a lot (St. Louis was his grandfather). The problem is, Philip played the king so well that many around him thought he was a “statue” (Bsp. Saisset). I argue in my essay that Philip, in a flare-up typicial “waning of the middle ages” literalism, tried to become an icon! In other words, following the monophysitic theory of “king’s two bodies” to a tee, Philip tried to nullify and obliterate his human operations and energies in order to be the divine king depicted in Ottonian art.

    Another example of the period’s bizzare literalism involves a misunderstanding of the Orthodox “prayer of the heart,” which Henry of Susa, in the late Middle Ages, exhibited. In a fit of Western mystical ecstasy, Henry took literally the Scriptural injunction to write the name of Christ on the fleshy tables of the heart. He took up a knife and carved the word “Jesus” on his heart, blood flowing freely… He liked to show off his scar to anyone who would stand still afterwards…

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