Iconoclasm

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  • The word is derived from the Greek word for “image breaking” and is mostly associated with the debate within the Byzantine Empire during the 8th and 9th centuries, but it also refers to any overt violation or desecration of political or religious images.

    To distinguish the Hebrew faith from pagan idol worship, the Second Commandment forbade making any physical likeness of God, but supporters of image veneration in the Christian church argued that the incarnation had superseded the Old Testament prohibition. By the end of the 6th century, image veneration of Christ and the saints was well established, but reaction against it was strong, particularly in the East, the reasons being both theological and political— namely, the power struggles between Church and State. There were two ...

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