Re: Re: reorganisation and destruction of irish catholic churches

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Praxiteles
Participant

The Codex sang. 51, foglio 266

The Crucifixion scene here depcited shows five figures: Christ Crucified on the Cross; St. Longinus with the Lance, Stephaton with the reed on which is the sponge offerng vinaigre to Christ, and two figures above the arms of the Cross.

The figure of Christ is the most interesting and the most allusive: we have already commented on the origin of the beardless youthful figure deriving from late Roman antiquity; the long curls of hair similarly deriving from late Roman antiquity and especiallythe cult of Appollo Capitoline. However, its is the swaddling bands that are immediatly evident and the the dominant feature of this Crucifixion. Here “Christ’s body is swaddled in a deceptiovely unanalizable weave of ribbons” (Harbison, p.3). Whatever the stylistic concerns of the artist might have been, his use of swaddling bands in this image is a direct allusion to the text of St. Luke’s with its reference to the Incarnation with the newborn child being wrapped in swaddling bands and being laid in a manger. Clearly, this image is a meditation of the Incarnation and on its fulfillment in the Redemption of the Cross.

More pertinently, the Swaddling bands hold together an image of Christ which is articulated in two colours. The upper part is painted in red while the lower part (the legs) are painted in blue. The swaddling bands, evidently, hold together the two natures (divine and human) in the one person of Christ – a reassertion of the Christological doctrine of the Council of Chalcedon held in November 451.

The coloured image of the manuscript can be seen at this link:

http://www.e-codices.unifr.ch/en/csg/0051/266/small

The Council of Chalcedon repudiated the Arian idea that Jesus had only one nature, and stated that Christ has two natures, human and divine, in one person. The Chalcedonian Creed describes the “full humanity and full divinity” of Jesus, the second person of the Holy Trinity [the “true God and true man” phrase recited every Sunday in the Creed].

So, we can assume with some security that the artist who painted this image was attempting to convey a theological idea about the Incarnation of Christ which had implications both for the assertion of the orthodox teaching of the Council of Chalcedon and for the repudiation of Arianism. It would be useful were some scholar with spare time (perhaps in the Cloyne HACK) to investigate possible Arian influences or a desire to counter Arianism in the circles which produced this manuscript.

It is also to be noted that the upper and lower parts of the verticle shaft of the Cross are painted in different colours.

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