By Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi

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He appears to the latter as morose as if he were some hardeyed, numb, monotonous kind of reptile. The two will never understand each other—their centres of emotional energy are too different. If no agreement can be reached on the difference between the Protestant and the Catholic positions on purely esthetic grounds, and if these grounds indeed underlie or even constitute much of our theological reasoning, it might be useful to follow Marion and turn to the premodern tradition. I do so not because the premodern tradition predates the divide between Protestantism and Catholicism, for a case could well be made that the Carolingian iconoclastic position foreshadows certain Protestant sensibilities, as Calvin was an avid supporter of the thencalled Libri Carolini.

Vandalism, he argues, only makes sense in a culture that recognizes history and archeology. Although originally an ethnic slur referring to Vandals, who sacked Rome in 455, the term was coined in 1794 during the French Revolution by Henri Baptiste Grégoire, bishop of Blois, in his report directed to the Republican Convention, where he used the word vandalism to describe the behaviour of the republican army. Gustave Courbets’s attempt, during the 1871 Paris Commune, to dismantle the Vendôme column, a symbol of the past Napoleon III authoritarian Empire, was one of the most celebrated events of vandalism.

Modern Times Finally, this volume is completed by an examination of how iconoclasm has been debated in the modern period. It comprises a variety of modern iconoclastic phenomena, such as the ‘image wars’ of secularized political movements (nationalism), conÁicts between the traditional Roman Catholic Church and the Avant-garde in modern art as religiously inspired form of iconoclasm, and Ànally, the ‘written’ (iconoclastic) images of the divine in modern Dutch poetry. The Àrst essay by Angela Berlis compares two forms of the politics of representation in the nineteenth century: a secular and an ecclesiastical form.

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