This paper proposes to make sense of the Christian image, and of the network of devotional practices into which it is embedded, in the light of its continuity with the original phenomenon of the relic. It is argued that this latter provides its ultimate source of legitimacy to any other sort of representative figuration, insofar as relics enjoy an immediate contact with the sacred thing they stand for. Once such kinship between images and relics is appreciated, it becomes possible to isolate devotional attitudes from other sorts of sentimental behavior directed to unrelated kinds of objects. The paper takes the so-called “anthropology of the image” as its method-ological stance, given its focus on the roles that images play within communities as a guiding-thread to understanding their meaning. Application of this method bears out functional affinities between images and relics, which support the main thesis of the study. It is concluded that the nature of the sacred image, and the specific way in which it “represents” within the Christian tradition, cannot be fully grasped without reference to relics.
|Translated title of the contribution||Why is a devout image not treated the same as any other object? Image Exceptional Considerations|
|Number of pages||15|
|State||Published - 2021|