Saturday, July 20, 2013

Pope Benedict on Word and Image

I just came across this today and thought it would be worth sharing. It is Pope Benedict's address at the conclusion of his Lenten retreat. In this brief address Benedict talks about the connection between word and image, through the greek word "logos":

It came to my mind that the medieval theologians translated the word “logos” not only as “verbum” (word) but also as “ars” (art): “verbum” and “ars” are interchangeable. For the medieval theologians, only in the two words together does the whole meaning of the word “logos” appear. The “Logos” is not only mathematical reason: the “Logos” has a heart, the “Logos” is love. Truth is beautiful, truth and beauty go together: beauty is the seal of truth.

You can find the translated message from Zenit here.

Or if you read Italian, here on the Vatican website you can find the original.

As an artist called to share the faith through art, this excerpt is very rich and worth further reflection. Especially interesting is the connection between the scriptures, the "word of God" and sacred art with its themes from the Bible and from Catholic tradition (tradition both with a capital "T" and lowercase "t"). Word and image are complementarity in God's revelation.

St. John's Gospel states:

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." John 1:1


"And the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us, and we saw his glory, the glory as of the Father’s only Son, full of grace and truth." John 1:14 (my blog url!)

Jesus is the Word of God and the true Image of the Father. Word and image in this sense are complementary and mutually illuminative, together giving a full sense of the same reality, of "logos". It is not suprising then the fruitful marriage between the scriptures and art. Many of the most powerful works of art are born from this marriage.

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