My Brilliant Friend
The Testament of Mary

Image and Presence

Image and Presence: A Christological Reflection on Iconoclasm and IconophiliaImage and Presence: A Christological Reflection on Iconoclasm and Iconophilia by Natalie Carnes
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This sometimes dense and sometimes mesmerizing book proposes at the close of the introduction that it will prepare "us for greater ecclesial unity and perhaps even [goad] us one faltering step toward earthly peace." A high order indeed.

Carnes points out that the great traditions of Christianity--Orthodox, Catholic, & Protestant--remain divided over how they view images, so to solve this problem leads to unity. And she also richly introduces her topic by connecting it to the violence over images of Muhammad and how issues of images deeply affect the modern world.

Where she arrives in her final, splendid chapter, is that our desires are too easily satiated by the images we see and that we need to desire more. When we desire the Christ, for whom no image is exhaustive and who himself is the image of God, we become like Christ and therefore an image of God. We become "a cascade of images." She writes, "To see the world in this way--as an image of God--requires resisting the will to master the world. It demands, instead, opening the self up to the transformations love can accomplish."

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