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Chapter Summary

In the summer of 2005 historians of Utrecht University organized an international conference, entitled 'Iconoclash: The Struggle for Religious Identity'. It focused its attention on the process of iconoclash and iconoclasm as an important device for identifying the construction of religious identity. The contributors examined the status of image in Judaic and Christian thought and practice by identifying the tension between Image and Word, the relationship between image breaking and image making, the dialectics between the image of God, self-definition and image of others, in the Jewish and Christian traditions. It argues that in the history of the monotheistic religions the tension between Word and Image played a decisive role in formation and transformation of religious identity. This introduction chapter of the book lays out the origins and previous history of the conference on Iconoclasm, followed by a discussion of thematic and methodical assumptions underlying the proceedings of the conference.

Keywords: Christian thought; iconoclash; iconoclasm; image and word; image of God; Jewish traditions; Judaic thought; religious identity



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