Looking for quotes by Apostolic / Early Church Fathers on images of Christ or icons.

Discussion in 'The Law of God' started by PuritanCovenanter, Apr 10, 2011.

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  1. PuritanCovenanter

    PuritanCovenanter Moderator Staff Member

    Okay you guys who are acquainted with the Early Church Fathers. I am looking for quotes from the first three centuries where they discussed images or icons of Christ or God. I know I have read somewhere that the early Church found them to be a violation of the 2nd Commandment. I would really appreciate your help here.

    Evidently I was cut off and unliked from the God page on Facebook. I didn't even know that my stuff was being sent from my fb page to their page when ever I mentioned God in a post. They didn't like my 2nd commandment post evidently.
     
  2. PuritanCovenanter

    PuritanCovenanter Moderator Staff Member

    Maybe I am mistaken. It might have been in the writings of the Apostolic Fathers. I would prefer quotes from the earliest Church times if possible. I am not doing very good at finding resources.
     
  3. PuritanCovenanter

    PuritanCovenanter Moderator Staff Member

    I asked Mr. Library (R. Andrew Meyers) for some help on this topic. Here is what he gave me.

    Here are a few to chew on:

    Origen, Against Celsus [an opponent of Christianity] 7.62 quotes Celsus thus:

    "They [the Christians] cannot tolerate temples, altars, or images."

    ANF04. Fathers of the Third Century: Tertullian, Part Fourth; Minucius Felix; Commodian; Origen, Parts First and Second | Christian Classics Ethereal Library

    Origen, Against Celsus [an opponent of Christianity] 7.65:

    "...but it is not possible at the same time to know God and to address prayers to images."

    ANF04. Fathers of the Third Century: Tertullian, Part Fourth; Minucius Felix; Commodian; Origen, Parts First and Second | Christian Classics Ethereal Library

    Synod of Elvira (c. 306 AD), Canon 36:

    "There shall be no pictures in the church, lest what is worshipped [saints] and adored [God and Christ] should be depicted on the walls."

    History of the Christian Church, Volume II: Ante-Nicene Christianity. A.D. 100-325. | Christian Classics Ethereal Library

    Eusebius (sorry, I don't have the citation, but J. Marcellus Kik quotes him thus):

    “Who can therefore counterfeit by dead and insensible colors, by vain shadowing painter’s art, the bright and shining glistering of such His glory? Whereas His holy disciples were not able to behold the same in the mountain; who therefore, falling on their faces, acknowledged they were not able to behold such a sight.”

    Pictures of the Christ by J. Marcellus Kik | Witnesses Unto Me

    Calvin also quotes Augustine against images in the Institutes, Book 1. Some discussion of this is found here:

    Augustine on Images and Idolatry

    And it's worth reading Philip Schaff on the history of Christian art in the early church.

    HISTORY OF THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH*

    I hope that helps a bit.

    Blessings,
    Andrew
    ANF04. Fathers of the Third Century: Tertullian, Part Fourth; Minucius Felix; Commodian; Origen, Par

    Let us now see what follows. “Let us pass on,” says he, “to another point. They cannot 637tolerate temples, altars, or images.48284828 [The temples here meant are such as enshrined images.] In this they are like the Scythians, the nomadic tribes of Libya, the Seres who worship no god, and some...
     
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