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19. Papal Prohibitions Midway Between Rigor And Laxity. On The Issue Of Depicting The Holy Trinity

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Chapter Summary

In spite of the impression created by writers as Théophile Raynaud, images of the Holy Trinity have always been controversial. For rejecting the monstrous three-headed and three-faced images of the Trinity there was since the sixteenth century almost unanimous support, but as regard the fundamental question whether it is permissible to depict God the Father, the Holy Spirit or the Holy Trinity there was always some discord among the Catholic theologians. For developing a theology of images, it was important to investigate if and how the Holy Trinity was depicted during the first millennium. It is also necessary to pay some attention to the historical developments of ecclesiastical art prior to the Counter Reformation and to the theologians' opinions on images and their veneration in earlier times, in order to understand the early modern debate and to evaluate the papal prohibitions of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

Keywords: Catholic theologians; counter reformation; God the Father; Holy Spirit; Holy Trinity; papal prohibitions; Théophile Raynaud



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