Symbol, Icon, and Body
Instructor: Dr. Andreopoulos
The concept of symbol is the central importance with Christian worship and thought. It covers concepts as fundamental and diverse such as the Creed (the "Symbol of Faith"), iconography (the icon in Early Church is not a simple representation, but it coveys a sense of the presence of the metaphysical), the liturgical tradition, and even the Communion Body (the Orthodox Liturgy refers to the Communion body and blood of Christ as the "signs of the body of Christ", at the same time holding them to be of the same essence as the body and blood of Christ). Naturally, the concept of the symbol here indicates a presence that is communicated through the symbol, instead of an absence, usually associated with the modern understanding of symbols and symbolism. This seminar will try to outline the magnitude and the depth of the issue in the main three fields of doctrinal formulation, iconography and liturgics, to propose several ways to address and study it, and examine the thought of the Fathers of the Church who have commented for various purposes on the significance and the role of the symbol.
This seminar will attempt to outline the ways worship and belief are expressed, find common threads among all of them, and point, through them, to elusive meaning of religious thought and expression that can be found beyond languages, theoretical or doctrinal formulations, signs and conventional representations, touching upon the innermost part of faith and belief.
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Last update: July 15, 2003
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