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Archive: 23:46, 30 December 2005

Isn't an icon also a representation of the real object and should there be a list of types of icons like the term icon used in graphics? If "Icon" is different from "icon" then this should be stated in the beginning to avoid confusion because they are identical to me. (talk) 18:33, 24 December 2013 (UTC)

It says: "This article is about the religious images. For other uses, see Icon (disambiguation)", right at the top. Johnbod (talk) 20:08, 24 December 2013 (UTC)

Picture of Contemporary Icon[edit]

I have recently commissioned a Ukrainian icon. I thought it might be good to have a picture of a contemporary icon on the page. Does anyone have any suggestions as to where the photo might be placed? Please let me know if you think we already have plenty of photos of icons on the page and we don't need any more. ;-) --Pied beauty 20:59, 31 March 2006 (UTC)

Yes, I believe we have enough icons in Category:Eastern Orthodox icons to choose from. You may want to upload your picture to Wikimedia Commons. --Ghirla -трёп- 08:49, 3 April 2006 (UTC)

Acts of John[edit]

Removed the reference to Acts of John being a generally gnostic work. First the brief mention doesn't add anything to the sentense, second, Acts of John has only a few chapters with gnostic overtones. The article on icons is not a place to discuss nuances of various interpretations in Christianity. 02:18, 11 January 2006 (UTC)

Whether the Acts of John is gnostic is very relevant to the subject at hand. First, whatever you might think about of the first few centuries of Christianity, they were definitely not the "mainstream" Christianity by the fourth century, and whether they were earlier is a matter of considerable debate. Thus this works' view of icons is probably not "mainstream." Second, since gnostics downplay the importance of people's physical bodies, and certainly downplay the importance of Jesus' physical incarnation and resurrection, they would be expected to avoid anything that emphasized the importance of the incarnation, such as the use of icons. That's why I added it before, and why I'm putting it back in now. Wesley 04:31, 11 January 2006 (UTC)

partial merge with iconography[edit]

The Iconography article has been dominated by a less sophisticated version of this one. There are chunks of material that should really be cut from there, cleaned-up a bit & added here (symbolism section etc). Anyone? Johnbod 12:51, 9 January 2007 (UTC)

Other religions need more representation[edit]

There is tons and tons of information here about icons in the history of christianity (perhaps TOO much information), yet other religions are barely mentioned - even hinduism, which is famous for its use of icons. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 09:39, 20 February 2007 (UTC).

Very POV section[edit]

I've marked a section that is very hardcore Protestant in its POV and is purely of iconoclasm doctrine. I'm not enough up on iconodule doctrine to balance this section, myself.Dogface 21:48, 18 March 2007 (UTC)

This does not amount to a description of POV issues. The section records the first documented references, of which there are obviously few. To describe it as "hardcore Proestant" seems ridiculous, and more revealing of your own POV. If you have specific problems with the section as it is, then they should be listed here, with references. I'm removing the tag again until this happens. Johnbod 16:05, 19 March 2007 (UTC)

What would be useful is if some of the material at Iconography , which is currently nearly all about Othodox icons, and is sufficiently iconodule even for Dogface I think, were put here instead. That article's current material should be merged here so that the title can be used for an article on iconography in its primary sense. Johnbod 00:42, 22 March 2007 (UTC)

I have added the removed tag (although to a different section), due to the use of weighted words, namely "opposition to the misuse of images", which implies that icons are a bad thing. Although this article's POV level has gone way down it still needs work, I'll be adding tags to more sections too. {{SUBST:citation needed}} (talk) 03:03, 17 November 2010 (UTC)

The very emphatic quotes from heavyweight sources were added (not by me) after someone else disputed this point. Unless you can produce sources of equivalent status expressing the opposite view I shall remove the tag after a while. That you say the present text "implies that icons are a bad thing" suggests you don't have a very good understanding of either English or the issue, or both. They say clearly that some Christians thought that "icons were a bad thing", which they did. Otherwise how did Iconoclasm come about? Johnbod (talk) 03:18, 17 November 2010 (UTC)

Added Orthodoxy Project Tag[edit]

I added this tag because of the Orthodox Church's specific association with veneration of Icons. Other projects are free to add their own tags as well.Dogface 21:48, 18 March 2007 (UTC)

Gee, thanks very much! Johnbod 16:06, 19 March 2007 (UTC)

Use of the POV Tag[edit]

The point of the POV tag is to direct people to discussion on the talk page, not to ask people to discuss within the article. Thus, if a need is felt for discussion due to possible POV problems, there is a need for the POV tag in the article specifically to direct people to that discussion.Dogface 15:45, 19 March 2007 (UTC)

Love Monkey's changes[edit]

User:LoveMonkey initally moved the sentence mentioning Hindu & Muslim traditions down to what his edit summary called "there own section" at the end of the article (edit summary:"Moved Hinduism and Islam to there own section since this article is about the greek word Icon." When I reverted this, he removed them altogether (edit summaries: "since article notes at top that it is about eastern christian icons removed unrelated comments" and "since this is a eastern orthodox wikiproject page please take up issue on talkpage or add contributions to secular icon article."). I have restored this passage, which has been in the article since Feb 06 at least. In a very long article, to object to a single sentence giving a broader context seems ridiculous to me, but I would welcome other editor's views. The removed sentence is:

"Some, such as Hinduism, have a very rich iconography called murti, while others, such as Islam, severely limit the use of visual representations."

I would point out that the note at the top says: "This article is concerned with the religious images called icons, principally in Eastern Christianity" (my emphasis). The article has much longer sections on Western Christian icon traditions also. As well as coming under the Eastern Othodox Wikiproject, it also comes under the Visual arts one. What do other people think? Johnbod 01:36, 27 March 2007 (UTC)

Why was the information first put back into the introduction and then reinserted without consulting the talkpage? Since even the talkpage here states-
WikiProject Eastern Orthodoxy This article is part of WikiProject Eastern Orthodoxy, an attempt to organize information in articles related to the Eastern Orthodox Church. If you would like to participate, you can edit the article attached to this page, or visit the project page, where you can join the project and/or contribute to the discussion.
And since I am part of that project I did the edits to the article. Also why is this article which was created to focus on the traditions of icons in my church now in its introduction supposed completely jump off topic and interject Hindu and Islamic traditions? LoveMonkey 02:27, 27 March 2007 (UTC)

See my comments above. Lets see what other people think. Johnbod 02:35, 27 March 2007 (UTC)

Funny but why is Greece's cultural heritage's art and words and it's validity in need of consensus? Let alone from people who are not Greek? Wikipedia is engaging in or at the least enabling cultural theft. It appears to me that with a disambiguous page as well as a secular page that the page designated as the Greek Eastern Orthodox icon page should remain just that. Tell me where on the Hindu iconography page you have added Greek iconography cultural history and or if by your conduct here why that would be wrong? Say if I did it. LoveMonkey 02:53, 27 March 2007 (UTC)

It's not just Greece is it? By all means add something to the (much much shorter) Hindu page, if you can do it sensibly, which I must say given the way the tone of your comments is going, I begin to wonder. It's not "Greece's cultural heritage's art and words and it's validity" but your edits which are in need of concensus. Johnbod 03:16, 27 March 2007 (UTC)

Not true, truth and content on wikipedia are not decided by consensus they are decide by the validity of -sources. By verifiability [[1]] From Jimmy himself.

" Jimmy Wales has said of this: "I can NOT emphasize this enough. There seems to be a terrible bias among some editors that some sort of random speculative 'I heard it somewhere' pseudo information is to be tagged with a 'needs a cite' tag. Wrong. It should be removed, aggressively, unless it can be sourced. This is true of all information, but it is particularly true of negative information about living persons." Honestly there must be a different wikipedia then the one he is talking about. Because when I try to defend and institute Jimmy's own direction I am told "too bad, have a cup of tea"
Is that true? Is it not true? As a reader of Wikipedia, I have no easy way to know. If it is true, it should be easy to supply a reference. If it is not true, it should be removed.

I really want to encourage a much stronger culture which says: it is better to have no information, than to have information like this, with no sources. Any editor who removes such things, and refuses to allow it back without an actual and appropriate source, should be the recipient of a barnstar.


You are doing no different then say this. or this Both of the above showing people trying to pervert history and undermind the integrity of the Greek culture either Hellenic or Byzantine. Either via hubris, hatred or ignorance. LoveMonkey 03:30, 27 March 2007 (UTC)

Verifiability is hardly an issue here, is it? You don't think the statements are wrong, you just don't think they belong in this article. You really need to calm down. Johnbod 03:37, 27 March 2007 (UTC)
LoveMonkey has flagged as {{Fact}} the following statement: "...Islam, severely limit the use of visual representations." Is this honest ignorance or intentionally disruptive? --Wetman 03:58, 27 March 2007 (UTC)

Source it wetman. In my opinion it does not belong in the introduction let alone, the article. It belongs in the disambigious and the secular article. As for Johnbold you seem to misunderstand wiki policy as tone or the need to calm down. Talk to Jimmy -again. Also you are dodging. Ad hom about my "tone" or "need to calm down" does nothing to make your case that a Greek Orthodox Designated article about a Greek word about a Greek cultural historical tradition is not the article to express a ambiguous interruption of the word. There are already two articles about that, use them. If you think this article is too narrow in scope for the sake of length, make a new article. Hey you could call it religious icon traditions. But I am not going on say it's appropriate to post in the Coptic iconography about Hindu, Islam and Andy Warhol, it is outside of the defined scope of the article. LoveMonkey 04:49, 27 March 2007 (UTC)

sources removed unsourced be bold[edit]

[2] Sourced is what counts not what I've heard or think but what is history. WP:Be Bold dictates to remove unsourced POV, the comment is POV. LoveMonkey 16:32, 16 June 2007 (UTC)

WP:Be bold dictates nothing of the sort, and should not be used to justify your removal of unreferenced, though certainly correct, statements that you think conflict with your own well-known POV. Johnbod 18:25, 16 June 2007 (UTC)

Without sourcing how can the statement be anything but speculation. It is not true just because you say it is. As for POV why is it that you change the subject and then try to claim I'm hypocritical when you are conventionally ignoring what Jimmy Wales has said. Supporting unsourced POV OK for you but no body else. If there where more icons made how hard can it be to prove? If it is that obvious put a history scholar on here saying not justify putting it in the article or posting more new speculation and deflamitory garbage. LoveMonkey 01:38, 23 June 2007 (UTC)


here there is a nice photo of an icon i have taken in the Christian-Byzantine Museum in Athens. i see that this article is very detailed and scientific but unfortunately i don't know enough information about it (origin, date, etc), save that it's a Saint George's depiction. anyway if you can find any use to it take it! thanks and cheers! Tetraktys-English 07:01, 20 June 2007 (UTC)

Thanks! Wesley 05:12, 16 September 2007 (UTC)
Sadly commons is absolutely full of nice images that can't be used because of inadequate details of what they are of! Johnbod 11:35, 16 September 2007 (UTC)

Fear of daimones?[edit]

Creating free-standing, three-dimensional sculptures of holy figures was resisted by Christians for many centuries, while the fear that daimones inhabited pagan sculptures remained strong.

While it's true that three-dimensional sculptures were avoided for a long time, I don't think the reason given is accurate, or at least it isn't the only one. Any source for it? I'll see what reasons I can find as well. Wesley 14:11, 15 September 2007 (UTC)

I think it was more the fear of idolatry myself, but I think I have been reverted before now on this. The Byzantine tradition had no large free-standing 3-d sculpture to the endJohnbod 14:19, 15 September 2007 (UTC)

Use of word 'Icon' by popular media[edit]

Does anyone know how the word 'Icon' came to be hijacked by the popular media to describe some distinctive feature? It first seemed to appear about 10 years ago and is becomming used more and more to descibe anything from a national hero to your favourite brand of cereal. I find it most annoying when used as a descriptive like this. [[Wikipedia:Signatures|unsigned]talkcontribs) 03:15, 24 May 2008-->

See cultural icon, not that it is much help at present. The usage is largely developed by semiotics I think. Johnbod (talk) 14:09, 7 June 2008 (UTC)

Yes, modern society misinterprets the meaning of the word ‘icon’. I explored the relationship between ‘modern icons’ and religious icons and produced a number of artworks which was exhibited in a solo exhibition this year. These ‘modern’ artworks focus on the artistic and symbolic aspects of traditional Byzantine icons but are not traditional icons per se. By means of parallelism, which helped in the distant past to create or to elevate real or mythical figures (or ‘icons’) to the level of Saints, today mass-media helps society create and elevate certain people (e.g. Miriam Makeba (Mama Africa), Steve Biko, Che Guevara, Mother Theresa of Calcutta, John Lennon, David Beckham etc.) to iconic status. Yet, these modern ‘icons’, despite their differences in terms of detail to the Orthodox Byzantine icons, contain essential similarities in terms of cultural function and aims. The media undoubtedly plays an important role in elevating these historical/social/public figures to their iconic status. In the same way, Byzantine iconographers and clergy promoted iconic figures at the time.At first, the term icon was only used for an image of a spiritual being or a sacred person. An icon has a modern-day meaning of someone greatly admired or an idealised role model. Society seeks to elevate particular figures, like Beckham, whom we can then read values into and say, look, this is how we should behave. It’s a fake spirituality. Guevara was as a ‘Romantic hero’ to fans throughout the world. He has become ever more fashionable and his bearded visage is an icon which is seen on many facets of media.

To conclude, the modern-day icon is a creation of modern-day society in its search for meaning in an apparently meaningless world; in the hope of finding substance where there is none and hope where there is despair. (Raita Steyn) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:56, 7 November 2010 (UTC)

Icon disambig[edit]

Icon should go straight to the disambiguation page. There is no way that this archaic usage of the word is the primary reason why people are searching for it. (talk) 13:49, 23 June 2009 (UTC)

What makes an icon?[edit]

I am an outsider to this religious tradition, and wonder: what makes a certain picture an icon? Is it simply the subject and presentation, or is the picture somehow dedicated, blessed, or consecrated? J S Ayer (talk) 01:16, 10 September 2009 (UTC)

No, it is simply being a religious image more or less in the Byzantine tradition. Many will be blessed, but that is not the crucial thing. Johnbod (talk) 02:01, 10 September 2009 (UTC)


Should there be more of a mention (beside Dura Europas) of archeological evidence of icons in Christian Catacombs? Some catacombs go back to the 2nd (or possibly 1st) century and contain images. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:40, 3 November 2009 (UTC)

Provenance query[edit]


This rather splendid image of St Onophrius is labeled in Commons as 4th century - if it is, I'll eat my beard and undergrowth. Anyone here know its approximate date and provenance? Haploidavey (talk) 19:02, 7 December 2009 (UTC)

You're clearly right. The lettering above (not the scroll) is Cyrillic, no? The posies inside the halo, and the Italianate landscape suggest a post-Renaissance date, 16th or 17th century Russian, or Cretan school? I expect it is the saint who is meant as 4th century. Johnbod (talk) 23:50, 7 December 2009 (UTC)
Excellent, thank you. I spent ages squinting at the scroll and gave up none the wiser - and yes, the background offers an oddly Italianate contrast to the very stylised figure. Pity I can't quote you there; "unknown" will have to do for now. Haploidavey (talk) 00:24, 8 December 2009 (UTC)

This is a late icon from the Greek-speaking region, influenced by "Western" realism in the background landscape, etc., and bearing the Greek inscription HO HAGIOS ONOPHRIOS -- "The Holy/Saint Onophrios"

Tischbein (talk) 23:52, 8 June 2011 (UTC)

Confusion regarding definition of "Icon" (Disambiguation page appears necessary)[edit]

First off, I'd like to say I both respect and have admiration for the amount of work that various authors have put into building this article. It appears it has been around in some form for over 10 years, which is pretty amazing. Secondly, I understand that religion can be sensitive issue, and my aim is not to offend others or put down this definition of the word "icon" in any way. It is certainly a legitimate and useful definition (as evidenced by this very well sourced article). However, as I'm sure many of you are aware, there is another well known idea of what "icon" or "iconic" means, as shown here: "a picture, image or other representation"

This definition of the word is certainly touched on in the second sentence of the article: "More broadly the term is used in a wide number of contexts for an image, picture, or representation; it is a sign or likeness that stands for an object by signifying or representing it either concretely or by analogy, as in semiotics; by extension, icon is also used, particularly in modern culture, in the general sense of symbol — i.e. a name, face, picture, edifice or even a person readily recognized as having some well-known significance or embodying certain qualities: one thing, an image or depiction, that represents something else of greater significance through literal or figurative meaning, usually associated with religious, cultural, political, or economic standing."

And I'm aware Wikipedia has articles covering those definitions of the word: (in fact, those two articles may very well be better off being merged)

However, an extremely high number of pages that appear to be using those version of the word link to this article erroneously (the following is a small sample):

This is a lot of confusion, and can I hope nobody would disagree that it could lead to even more confusion for those that click those links, expecting to be brought to entirely different articles.

My suggestion is this:

Have the word "Icon" redirect to the Icon disambiguation page, re-title this article to "Icon (Religious)" and the other articles (or article, if they get merged) to "Icon (Secular)" or "Icon (Cultural)" and move those definitions up from where they've apparently been placed at the bottom of the disambiguation page (kind of an odd and even more confusing place to put them given their relevance).

The three (or two) main articles at the top of the disambiguation page would then be this one and both of (or one of) those. Again, this is not at all to denigrate this definition of the word. However, the other definitions are relevant and no less legitimately used. In fact, though religious icons themselves certainly have existed for millennia, the actual sense of the word "icon" as referring specifically to religious paintings came after the word's initial inception:

("Etymologically, icon, from the Greek eikon, begins its meaning as 'image,' 'likeness,' or 'representation.'" (quoted from above link))

In other words, the definitions I have pointed to for "Icon" are not a stepping away from or diluting of its religious ties, but a reference to the word's original meaning. Looking around, there seems to be some confusion on this matter, not just on this talk page but in other areas on the web.

I truly intend for this not to be perceived as anything other than a suggestion for a way to clear up confusion and more accurately direct people to the articles they want to go to.

(As a side note, that last link I provided actually provides a really interesting and in depth look at the word's origins and usage. Its segment regarding the word's religious use may help strengthen this article as well. I'd recommend taking a look at it.)

Thank you! -Sgore (talk) 06:31, 27 March 2011 (UTC)

I think the religious art sense is still primary, and Disam pages should be avoided where possible. Any change now would result in far more mis-directed links. Sooner or later a wikignome will come along and clean those up. Johnbod (talk) 16:35, 27 March 2011 (UTC)

Typographical Error and Bingham excerpt[edit]

Before I edit, I want to offer notification of a couple of planned changes and the reasons for them.

1. Under the heading "Emergence of the Christian Icon," there seems to be a significant typographical error: "There is evidence of the use of painted icons or of similar religious images by Christians in the New Testament or early apocrypha." This contradicts the following quoted statement that ""The first thing to note is that there is a total silence about Christian and non-idolatrous images [in the New Testament]..." So the first statement should be changed to "There is no evidence of the use of painted icons or of similar religious images by Christians in the New Testament." There is evidence, as later stated, in the apocryphal Acts of John (generally dated to the 2nd century, and the predominant current dating of 2 Peter in the New Testament is also 2nd century).

2. The long excerpt by the E.. Orthodox priest Dr. Stephen Bingham is not objective as entered here, but rather appears to be a "religious" apology for why there is no mention of Christian icons in the New Testament. Also, his comment that the absence of any mention or use of Christian icons in the New Testament is an "argument from silence" implies invalidation of such an argument, when actually an argument from silence can be quite valid. The requirements to make such an argument valid in this case are: First: The writers whose silence is invoked would certainly have known about any making or use of Christian icons and any importance attached to them. Second: Knowing of them and their importance, the writers would certainly have made some mention of them. Consequently, The excerpt by Bingham serves no purpose other than the apologetic and in addition is flawed in its implications, and should be removed.

There are a number of other changes that I hope will made over time and through mutual consultation in order to improve the article by removing or clarifying confusing or apparently non-objective material and to improve the sequence of presentation, but I will begin with editing the segments cited above in the next day or two, which is why I am giving advance notice in case anyone wishes to share comments affecting the proposed edits.

I do want to add that as a model, there are some very good factual segments in the article that have pertinent supporting citations and evidence, and I would like to see the whole article eventually elevated to that standard.

Tischbein (talk) 23:37, 8 June 2011 (UTC)

I should have written "Steven Bingham" rather than "Stephen." Tischbein (talk) 00:18, 9 June 2011 (UTC)

Sounds good to me, except that I would remove the issue at 1) altogether - it is hardly surprising that a a Jewish group mostly of low social class did not record using painted portraits. One could surely only expect that from after the movement had spreadly widely among gentiles culturally used to having such images of important people, though even the evidence for pagan painted religious portraiture, and any such portraiture outside official images of rulers, the wealthy, and Egyptians, is pretty slim. Johnbod (talk) 01:45, 9 June 2011 (UTC)

Thanks for your input, Johnbod. The statement to the effect that there is no mention of icons in the New Testament is important to the article because the New Testament comprises the earliest body of Christian literature, and is thus very significant as witness for the role -- whether in presence or absence -- of Christian icons in the 1st century. The reason for the lack of mention in that significant body of literature is open to interpretation (yours included), but I think we should avoid interpreting the facts for the reader, which can lead to opinion instead of simply presenting the facts. The non-mention of Christian icons at that time is significant in view of the later high and important status of icons in Christianity, particulary after the decrees of the Seventh Ecumenical Council. And it helps to illuminate -- by absence of mention -- the sequence of events in the rise and development of the importance of icons within Christian art. So merely stating that there is no mention of icons in this large, earliest body of Christian literature gets us from the origin of Christianity in the first century to the first appearance of identifiably Christian art at the beginning of the 3rd century -- around the year 200.

The major thing in my view is that the "historical" part of the article should keep strictly to the historical/archeological evidence or lack thereof, without "interpreting" it for the reader, who is looking for fact rather than opinion. I think it quite appropriate, however, that the essence of the view of Steven Bigham as an E. Orthodox priest (note the corrected spelling of his name that is incorrectly spelled twice in the article), which is that Christian icons originated in the Apostolic period, is quite appropriate in the segment titled "Eastern Orthodox Teaching," because that belief is vital to the traditional E. Orthodox view of icons. The notion that icons go back to the time of Jesus and the apostles is a part of conservative E. Orthodox doctrine, but as such it is a matter of belief rather than of historical evidence. In sticking to the evidence in the historical part of the article we avoid telling the reader what to conclude; we merely provide the existing evidence or lack thereof.

Tischbein (talk) 02:35, 9 June 2011 (UTC)

I have made the change, mentioned earlier, to the beginning of the section "Emergence of the Christian Icon." I have removed the apparently apologetic material, as well as correcting the typographical error. In doing so I replaced it with what I hope will be a series of time-identified segments within the larger section. In those segments, I propose that the article should follow the development of Christian art from the symbol of the first century through the first provable appearance of the icon in literature and in physical evidence as something approximating the icon as it is known in later Christianity. That should be easy, because fortunately, for the proposed framework, it is the 2nd century that leads us, chronologically, on to the art of the catacombs and to the first literary mention of icons as venerated objects within a Christian context.

I hope that by providing a clearer chronological sequence, we shall make the origin of the icon in Christianity easier for the reader to follow and understand. So my next proposed change will be a segment -- again with "period" citations of literary evidence, etc. -- that will discuss events relating to the rise of icons in the 2nd century. Making these changes in segments will, of course, result in a temporary awkwardness in the article, but that should be smoothed away as editing progresses.

It should be noted that in making the change to the first part of the section, I omitted the mention of Judaism as a religion that traditionally did not tolerate religious art. I did so first because that statement is somewhat problematic, given that there is art in a religious context in the Hebrew Scriptures, and second because it does not really seem necessary to an account of the beginning of Christian art from the existing evidence.

I also eliminated the statement "It is important to point that in some letters of Paul and in the book of Revelation, there is a strong criticism to the idolaters." There seemed no logical reason to have it there.

In the longer view, as I suggested in my previous notes here, I hope that we can give the article a more structured framework, and I believe a chronological treatment based on the existing evidence will serve that purpose well. It does, of course, mean that more of the article must be restructured to fit such a framework, and I hope to have additional discussion with the other participants on this. As I mentioned to Johnbod, I think it is important to the integrity of the article that it should reflect the actual physical and literary evidence relevant to the subject, rather than interpreting that evidence for the reader. That seems a very logical and useful approach, and it also avoids the inevitable conflicts of opinion that arise between the interpretations given the evidence by non-Eastern Orthodox scholarship and those of persons who hold closely to traditional E. Orthodox doctrine on the history of icons. I believe that in the subject of icons, for an adequate basic understanding, there must be room for both the "secular" (for lack of a better word) academic and the Eastern Orthodox (etc.) doctrinal approach, because both are important to understanding the history of icons and their significant role within the Eastern Orthodoxy, in other "churches of the East," and in Catholic and other "Western" Christian traditions.

Tischbein (talk) 17:11, 9 June 2011 (UTC)

I see that Island Monkey has, with no prior discussion here whatsoever, and with no recognition of or response to my initial advance notice of proposal to edit, reverted the page to its exact former status -- problematic statement, typographical error, double misspelling of Steven Bigham's name, out-of-place, overly-long apologetic statement and all. Quite honestly, if that is the way things are done here, and if that is the low level of quality and accuracy participants on this article are willing to achieve, I will not waste my time here further on futile attempts to improve and correct.

Tischbein (talk) 23:54, 9 June 2011 (UTC)

If you'll take a look at the edit summaries used, it seems that the problem with your edits is that they were not wikified with links to other articles and references in <ref> tags. Now, it is debatable whether such edits should be just reverted on sight, or whether the other editor should have taken the time to wikify them himself because they were otherwise constructive. But the burden is mostly on you here to improve the article, so I would recommend learning enough Wiki-markup language to make internal article links and reference citations, and making another attempt at improvement. Elizium23 (talk) 00:42, 10 June 2011 (UTC)
I have restored a more wikified version. But references are needed; at the moment only those to WP:PRIMARY sources are used. Also the translation used for the long quote should be specified in a reference. Johnbod (talk) 01:22, 10 June 2011 (UTC)

Thanks for your comments, Johnbod. The article as a whole still needs considerable revision and reorganization, but before I add any further edits I will certainly take your advice on markup language. And of course I will again give advanced notice here before making any further edits. I try to make certain that every bit of information I include is supported by literary or historical evidence. And as I also mentioned previously, I think it is important to present that evidence without undue interpretation for the reader in matters that may be controversial. And I have noticed that in almost anything involving Eastern Orthodoxy, any statement made that may be in conflict with traditional Eastern Orthodox doctrine is likely to raise a controversy. But I hope my approach will put an end both to conservative Eastern Orthodox domination of Wikipedia articles dealing with that segment of Christianity, while simultaneously presenting the Eastern Orthodox traditional doctrinal point of view, which is essential to understanding those matters. From my experience, this is the only approach that avoids pointless stalemates over differences of opinion between the strictly evidential view and the traditional Eastern Orthodox view, and it has the great advantage of giving the reader of an article a rounded view of a subject.

I am likely to make further comments for discussion before I give notice of proposed edits. And thanks to the person who sent me the kind and encouraging message.

Tischbein (talk) 22:12, 12 June 2011 (UTC)

As of Nov 2011 I find this article unusable. There is no clear delineation of the history of iconography, its technical distinctions, and its criticisms. As it is presented here, the theology of icons is completely non-linear. Would someone be willing to reorganize the data into better categories? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Stormbuffalo (talkcontribs) 17:09, 7 November 2011 (UTC)

Requested move[edit]

The following discussion is an archived discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was: No consensus to move, adjust disambiguation and hatnotes as required. Mike Cline (talk) 16:06, 3 February 2012 (UTC)

– Considering the great number of possible alternatives on the disambiguation page (in particular, computer icon, but also note the large number of albums, films, and companies), it's difficult to believe that this is the subject most people want to read when they type or link the word "icon". Pageview statistics are being slow today so I don't have them available right now.

(It may also be worthwhile to consider a slight reorganization of the disambiguation page, to place this use and the computer icon use both at the top, given the large number of alternative uses. Hopefully that would ameliorate any concern about the link to Icon (art) being lost.) Powers T 14:47, 24 January 2012 (UTC)

  • Support. Other uses of the term have long since eclipsed the religious/art history usage. olderwiser 15:12, 24 January 2012 (UTC)
  • Oppose - I think this has been rejected before. One has to consider how many people are actually likely to want to read a whole article on computer icons - that gets only c300 a day, vs c800 for this, though of course many people will come here first. But the disam page gets only c50 per day, strongly suggesting the current arangement is correct - the further uses get pretty tiny figures I think. No objection to computer icon also going at the top of the disam page - good idea if the disam police allow it. Johnbod (talk) 15:17, 24 January 2012 (UTC)
    • I suspect that 800 figure would drop precipitously if this page were moved. A Google search reveals the variety in what they feel is intended by the word: this page is the only one in the top ten that refers specifically to art or religion. Google Books shows similar results. Powers T 15:56, 24 January 2012 (UTC)
Actually if you look at Wikipedia:WikiProject_Visual_arts#Most_visited_pages the figures for this page seem very much what one would expect given the relative importance of the topic within the subject - currently it is #173 in the list. The google (UK) first page includes 6 organizations whose name or acronym is "Icon", because google gives them a strong preference. The top google item, here in the UK, is the home page for the Institute of Conservation which on WP averages fewer than 5 hits a day. #2 is a company we don't seem to have an article on. The whole page is a classic example of why arguing from google is fraught with traps. On my first page of a google books search 6/10 items refer to artistic icons, and none to computer icons. Johnbod (talk) 16:31, 24 January 2012 (UTC)
Which is why I'm not using specific numbers and figures... but the Google test is useful for noting that the number of different uses is extremely broad. If this were a true primary topic, one would expect a clear dominance in the Google results. That is not in evidence here, not remotely. Powers T 18:13, 24 January 2012 (UTC)
6/10 of gbook hits on page 1 is more than adequate for primary usage in my book. It's 7/10 on page 2. Johnbod (talk) 18:59, 24 January 2012 (UTC)
I only count four of ten, but even so it's not surprising that it's easier to write book-length works on religious iconography than on some of the other topics. Powers T 19:35, 24 January 2012 (UTC)
  • Support: I'm not convinced there is one clear prime topic for "icon". Although many incoming links to Icon are for the art subject, there are other links that are for other intended uses. +mt 19:37, 24 January 2012 (UTC)
I just went through and adjusted 5 I think, which I think is the lot. Some of the ones that turned out to be right were rather surprising. Rather more mean art icon, but don't apply the term very well. Johnbod (talk) 22:40, 24 January 2012 (UTC)
  • Support icons can also be people. (talk) 08:46, 25 January 2012 (UTC)
    • That's a dictionary usage not covered in WP, so it's not relevant to determining whether this usage is the primary topic. --Born2cycle (talk) 20:50, 25 January 2012 (UTC)
      • That would be cultural icon, though that concentrates on objects not people. Johnbod (talk) 20:58, 25 January 2012 (UTC)
  • Oppose in terms of topics likely to be sought on Wikipedia, all the evidence -- particularly page view counts -- indicates the traditional usage is the primary topic. And if it was up to me, there would be no "long-term significance" consideration, but it is there, and clearly this use is primary on those grounds too. Also, as others noted, there simply isn't really much to look up about a computer icon. And remember, if you google for "icon", you get a list of hits, including the choice to come to this article vs. the computer icon article, and, despite that, the page view counts are high here. That indicates people are choosing to come, not sent here incorrectly, and later going to some other icon article.

    Support hatnote link to the computer icon article at the top of this article. --Born2cycle (talk) 20:48, 25 January 2012 (UTC)

I just got a call from Apple. They want your ipad back. History2007 (talk) 20:53, 25 January 2012 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Besides strong traditional usage from which all other uses derive, the disambiguator itself is ambiguous. Icon is not really art, it is religion (and not merely "religious art", but the use of any sort of imagery or symbol in religious worship). Reading it straight "Icon (art)" I'd imagine it to be some whacky neo-pop post-modern art movement using computer technology. Walrasiad (talk) 12:21, 26 January 2012 (UTC)
    • I considered icon (religion) but the lead implied that it had to be artistic, and that it need not be religious. Powers T 14:11, 26 January 2012 (UTC)
Icon certainly does not mean "the use of any sort of imagery or symbol in religious worship", and if it is to be disambiguated, "Icon (art)" is best. Johnbod (talk) 17:36, 26 January 2012 (UTC)
Sure does. Iconodule, iconoclasm, iconography, etc. are about images & symbols in religious worship in general, not necessarily small painted wooden blocks. Its not about the art objct, but about how the objects are used (i.e. religion), that makes an icon. It is for this reason the 'icon' word got transferred to other uses, like "cultural icon", etc. It's the devotional element, not the art element, that is meant. The disambiguator is inadequate.Walrasiad (talk) 18:11, 26 January 2012 (UTC)
No they are not, and it is usually poor usage, though common, to speak of icons (in this sense) outside of Eastern Christianity. Icons are religious images featuring people; the iconclasts destroyed these and replaced them with crosses in some instances, most famously at Hagia Irene. Johnbod (talk) 14:07, 27 January 2012 (UTC)
Hm. I think you missed my point. What I have meant to emphasize in icons is the devotional aspect, which the disambiguator "art" does not capture. The iconoclasts frequently placed other images on top, e.g. pictures of animals, birds, plants, or even regular humans (e.g. group portraits of councils), since there was no danger of those being subject to or used in devotion. Walrasiad (talk) 20:45, 27 January 2012 (UTC)
  • Support. Indeed, "icon" as a disambiguation page would help much more. --Lecen (talk) 12:49, 26 January 2012 (UTC)
  • Support the moves in principle (the principle being "when in doubt, disambiguate"), but the title choice of "icon (art)" just doesn't feel right to me. Can't think of a better alternative though, but it's not like it can't be moved later.—Ëzhiki (Igels Hérissonovich Ïzhakoff-Amursky) • (yo?); January 26, 2012; 18:00 (UTC)
  • X= ? I think the importance of a dab will only increase in time, then even decrease after that in X years. We are now getting the "ipad generation" who does not remember what MsDos was, (do I need a link for that?) and to them an icon will mean what they see on a computer screen. So what will happen is that icon will remain a disambig for X years after that icon (disambiguation) will get moved to icon (computing) which will eventually dominate. That trend is certain, shallowness aside. It is just a question of estimating X. History2007 (talk) 18:07, 26 January 2012 (UTC)
  • Oppose per Johnbod, seems ok as is...Modernist (talk) 20:20, 26 January 2012 (UTC)
  • Support. It's not clear to me that this icon is the primary topic and I think a dab page would be useful to readers. Jenks24 (talk) 05:48, 27 January 2012 (UTC)
So why does the one we have get only about 7% of the views this page does? Johnbod (talk) 11:40, 27 January 2012 (UTC)
  • Strong Oppose The term "icon" was used since Christianity, and it is a shame to move it to "Icon (art)", while some image on the internet to "Icon". No matter what date we are living, it is better to be conservative in this case. Also, if I would search for an another icon, I would type "computer icon" or search for the term on the disambiguation page. Simple as that. Also per Johnbod's great research.--♫GoP♫TCN 13:55, 27 January 2012 (UTC)
Actually that request was made on January 21st 2023, at 11:07 am. Just wait and see. History2007 (talk) 21:28, 27 January 2012 (UTC)
  • (to LtPowers) You want to move the disambiguation page to "Icon", and since "computer icon" belongs to that disambiguation, it will also move, while this page to "Icon (art)". Also since this article is the primary topic, other, less important articles should be in that disambiguation. ♫GoP♫TCN 10:42, 28 January 2012 (UTC)
    • Apologies, but one of us is very confused. I'm afraid I have no idea what you mean. Powers T 15:34, 29 January 2012 (UTC)
      • No worry. Take your time - read it aloud.--♫GoP♫TCN 21:54, 29 January 2012 (UTC)
        • Well, since you chose to be condescending instead of trying to clarify... I don't know what you mean by "'computer icon' belongs to that disambiguation"; what does it mean for a phrase to "belong to" a disambiguation page? I also don't understand why the computer icon article will be renamed just because the phrase "belongs to" a renamed disambiguation page. I also don't know what verb you meant to include in the clause "while this page to 'Icon (art)'"; it has no verb and thus is not comprehensible. Finally, I don't understand why you said "other, less important articles should be in that disambiguation" -- we have many such articles on the disambiguation page, and there's nothing stopping you from adding more if some are missing. Powers T 00:49, 30 January 2012 (UTC)
  • Support - disambiguation seems more useful. If we go by Google results, try Google Scholar. Due to some archiving artifact, searching for "icon" is useless, but only one of the first 20 hits for "icons" refers to religious art. Huon (talk) 00:39, 28 January 2012 (UTC)
And hits 1,2 and 3 there are on the deeply obscure auditory icons (not on the disam page) aka earcons, which get about 12 hits a day! In a search that mixes the arts and sciences, google scholar always favours the sciences, for reasons that I suppose are to do with the journals they search (far from a complete range) and patterns of paper writing. Johnbod (talk) 02:05, 28 January 2012 (UTC)
  • Oppose, mostly per Johnbod. I'm not convinced that other usages supersede the art historical term as the primary meaning. Kafka Liz (talk) 00:58, 30 January 2012 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

Information Suppression[edit]

The following paragraph is a summary of an article from a newly published peer-reviewed, academic journal. It should not be deleted as it is exactly relevant to this page and meets the standards for wikipedia. It has been deleted on false claims that the source is inadequate.
John B. Carpenter argues that the early church inherited the opposition to icons in second temple, Talmudic Judaism, and opposed icons through the fourth century.[1] Hence, early Christians were accused of being "atheists" by Romans who assumed the absence of images meant the absence of belief in gods.[2] Origen (184-254) responded to the charge of "atheism" by admitting that Christians did not use images in worship, following the Second Commandment.[3] Canon 36 of the Council of Elvira (c. 305) states, “Pictures are not to be placed in churches, so that they do not become objects of worship and adoration.” About the year 327 the early church historian Eusebius (c. AD 263 – 339) wrote, "To depict purely the human form of Christ before its transformation, on the other hand, is to break the commandment of God and to fall into pagan error."[4] Epiphanius (inter 310–320 – 403), bishop of Salamis, in Cyprus wrote, in Letter 51 (c. 394), to John, Bishop of Jerusalem about an incident of finding an image in a church in his jurisdiction: "I went in to pray, and found there a curtain hanging on the doors of the said church, dyed and embroidered. It bore an image either of Christ or of one of the saints; I do not rightly remember whose the image was. Seeing this, and being loath that an image of a man should be hung up in Christ's church contrary to the teaching of the Scriptures, I tore it asunder and advised the custodians of the place to use it as a winding sheet for some poor person." He goes on to tell John that such images are “contrary to our religion” and to instruct the presbyter of the church that such images are “an occasion of offense.”[5] The issue of icons in eastern Christianity was only settled at the second "Seventh Ecumenical Council," in 787, leading Carpenter to conclude that that council marks the true beginning of Eastern Orthodoxy with it's prominent use of icons.[6] (talk) 15:13, 5 April 2013 (UTC)
The proper article for this is Aniconism in Christianity where the matter is already dealt with in greater detail using specialist sources, which you/Carpenter can't claim to be. The conclusion that "that council marks the true beginning of Eastern Orthodoxy with it's prominent use of icons" is all but WP:FRINGE and belongs to religious polemic rather than an article on a historical subject. The manifesto of the "International Society of Christian Apologetics" is clear from its website, which comes complete with a doctrinal statement. People may want to see Wikipedia:Conflict_of_interest/Noticeboard#Multiple_religious_articles_related_to_Eastern_Orthodoxy and Wikipedia:Administrators'_noticeboard/Incidents#Yeoberry (where this ISP says he is Yeoberry). Johnbod (talk) 16:32, 5 April 2013 (UTC)
And now WP:ANI as well as WP:RSN#Journal of the International Society of Christian Apologetics. Dougweller (talk) 16:42, 5 April 2013 (UTC)

Scope of the article[edit]

This article defines itself to be “about the religious images”. The Shroud of Turin certainly is that.

This article says in the first paragraph that “the term is used in a wide number of contexts for an image, picture, or representation; it is a sign or likeness that stands for an object by signifying or representing it either concretely or by analogy, as in semiotics; by extension, icon is also used, particularly in modern culture, in the general sense of symbol — i.e. a name, face, picture, edifice or even a person readily recognized as having some well-known significance or embodying certain qualities: one thing, an image or depiction, that represents something else of greater significance through literal or figurative meaning, usually associated with religious, cultural, political, or economic standing.” Again, this extended definition fits the Shroud of Turin perfectly.

The last three Catholic popes have all referred to the Shroud of Turin as an icon, as have numerous authors.

Please would you explain how you reach the conclusion that the Shroud does not fall into the scope of this article? Wdford (talk) 21:59, 6 April 2013 (UTC)

That's your original research. We go by what is reported in the scholarly literature, and in all of my reading of the scholarly literature on the topic, I have never once seen the shroud of Turin mentioned as an example. It's possible that some authors out there may have mentioned it, but they are in the minority, and WP:UNDUE applies. The statements by the popes are irrelevant, because none of them was or is an expert on icons. There's also the issue of the artist's intentions. The shroud of Turin was not created to be considered to be a work of art. The artist almost certainly intended for it to be considered a genuine relic, and it was, and still is by some, considered to be just that. Curiously, not very much has been published on its value or significance as a work of art, and, when icons are mentioned, it is their significance on the shroud that is important, not on the shrouds significance to icons. Dominus Vobisdu (talk) 22:32, 6 April 2013 (UTC)
Even if it is regarded as an icon it is not at all typical and not helpfully covered in this article, especially at the length you added. The 3rd para of the lead makes clear the focus of this article: "In Eastern Christianity and other icon-painting Christian traditions, the icon is generally a flat panel painting depicting a holy being or object such as Jesus, Mary, saints, angels, or the cross. .... Comparable images from Western Christianity are generally not described as "icons", although "iconic" may be used to describe a static style of devotional image." Johnbod (talk) 02:15, 7 April 2013 (UTC)
The reference to the pope and others calling the shroud an icon is not referenced here, and even if it was, I suspect the term was being used figuratively, not literally, so it still would not count. Darkman101 (talk) 04:37, 11 December 2014 (UTC)

Symbolism of Colors[edit]

The article as currently written symbolically identifies red with divinity and blue with humanity.

In a public lecture given by one of the faculty at our local seminary, I was told just the opposite, that red, the color of blood, represents humanity, and blue, the color of the sky, represents divinity.

The coloring of the Trinity in the famous Rublev Trinity icon seems to support the explanation I was given rather than the article in its current (1Jun2013) form. All three figures of the Trinity have blue in their dress in the Rublev icon. I was told that this signifies their common divine nature. Additionally, the father's robes have some earth tones, signifying His role as Creator; Christ's robes have red, signifying His Incarnational second human nature; and the Spirit's robes have green, signifying the Spriit's role in calling forth new life.

I was further told that Mary's red over blue clothing symbolizes, not, as the article notes, her overshadowing with the Holy Spirit, but that, she, though fully human, carried within her womb her divine Son. Christ's blue over red clothing, I was told symbolizes the human nature mingled with the divine.

Do we have any real experts here to settle this? What I've been able to find on the web is mixed. I know a number of books have been written about the Rublev icon in particular, but I haven't been able to gain access to any of them. JohnGHissong (talk) 16:32, 1 June 2013 (UTC)

Probably not, and I very much doubt that this "symbolism" can be documented until centuries after the conventions were established, as there is very little specific old writing about such technical details of icon-painting, as opposed to the higher-level theology of images etc. Such symbolic explanations of art often emerge well after the fact, and would surprise the original artists. Johnbod (talk) 20:05, 1 June 2013 (UTC)

Major changes[edit]

I have rewritten the article to only show the definition of icon as a religious painting venerated by Eastern Christians. Other definitions (used in semiotics, modern culture, etc) were deleted, because they are not connected with the main topic of the article. I applied the same rule to murti (it is not really an icon). Other definitions of icon are available in Icon (disambiguation) page.

References to Western Christianity have been related to their views about Eastern Christianity icons. Information about the use of statues and pictures which are not "icon"-like portraits in modern day by Western Christianity was excluded.--Noble Caraqueño (talk) 00:30, 17 September 2014 (UTC)

On a quick look this may be a bit too drastic, but I can't yet work out where 11K bytes have been cut. Has the "Theology" section gone? Why? Narrative EO images certainly count as icons, not just portraits. Johnbod (talk) 01:37, 17 September 2014 (UTC)
I merged "Theology" section with "Eastern Orthodox teaching" section to concentrate similar information in only one section. I did the same with dispersed info of Russian, Greek, Romanian and Coptic icons: I united them into one section.
The part of "Theology" section that I inserted in "Eastern Orthodox teaching" section is St. Basil the Great”s words:

"The honor shown the image passes over to the archetype." He also illustrates the concept by saying, "If I point to a statue of Caesar and ask you 'Who is that?', your answer would properly be, 'It is Caesar.' When you say such you do not mean that the stone itself is Caesar, but rather, the name and honor you ascribe to the statue passes over to the original, the archetype, Caesar himself."[32] So it is with an Icon.

I deleted the rest of "Theology" section”s info, because I think it is repeated in "Eastern Orthodox teaching". An example is about "veneration of icons in Eastern Orthodoxy". The two sections say the same content. If you want to recover info from "Theology" section, I suggest that it is blended with "Eastern Orthodox teaching" to avoid dispersed or repeated info.
On the other hand: What do you mean with "Narrative EO images"? I supposed you are talking about this: "Written" or "painted"?--Noble Caraqueño (talk) 06:54, 17 September 2014 (UTC)
    • ^ John B. Carpenter, "Icons and the Eastern Orthodox Claim to Continuity with the Early Church," Journal of the International Society of Christian Apologetics, Vol. 6, No. 1, 2013, pp. 107-122.
    • ^ For example, Martyrdom of Polycarp, chapter 9; cited by John B. Carpenter, "Icons and the Eastern Orthodox Claim to Continuity with the Early Church," Journal of the International Society of Christian Apologetics, Vol. 6, No. 1, 2013, p. 111.
    • ^ Origin, Contra Celsus, Book VII, Chapter 64; according to John B. Carpenter, "Icons and the Eastern Orthodox Claim to Continuity with the Early Church," Journal of the International Society of Christian Apologetics, Vol. 6, No. 1, 2013, p. 112.
    • ^ David M. Gwynn, From Iconoclasm to Arianism: The Construction of Christian Tradition in the Iconoclast Controversy [Greek, Roman, and Byzantine Studies 47 (2007) 225–251], p. 227.
    • ^ John B. Carpenter, "Icons and the Eastern Orthodox Claim to Continuity with the Early Church," Journal of the International Society of Christian Apologetics, Vol. 6, No. 1, 2013, p. 118.
    • ^ Carpenter, ibid., p. 121.