Windows to Heaven: Introducing Icons to Protestants and Catholics

Overview

Evangelicals often feel uneasy when they encounter the haunting images of Orthodox icons. From the theological to the practical, questions flood in: Why are the facial expressions so fixed? Why the colorful robes? What do the images symbolize? Do Orthodox Christians worship icons? Doesn't that make them idols?

In this useful guidebook, Elizabeth Zelensky and Lela Gilbert debunk common misconceptions about Orthodox icons and explain how they might enrich the devotional lives of ...

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Overview

Evangelicals often feel uneasy when they encounter the haunting images of Orthodox icons. From the theological to the practical, questions flood in: Why are the facial expressions so fixed? Why the colorful robes? What do the images symbolize? Do Orthodox Christians worship icons? Doesn't that make them idols?

In this useful guidebook, Elizabeth Zelensky and Lela Gilbert debunk common misconceptions about Orthodox icons and explain how they might enrich the devotional lives of non-Orthodox Christians. Each chapter opens with biblical passages and engaging anecdotes and closes with excerpts from personal journals. The authors offer a detailed look at five specific icons, discussing the importance of the incarnation, the Trinity, and Christ's transfiguration to the Orthodox faith.

This approachable and engaging guide is perfect for those seeking to deepen or refresh their devotional lives.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In recent years, Protestants have discovered icons, once the provenance of Eastern Orthodox churches. Zelensky (a historian of Russia) and Gilbert (a prolific writer/ghostwriter) team up to introduce Eastern icons to Western Christians. The authors open with a lucid discussion of what an icon is-and is not. It is not merely a work of art depicting the life of Jesus; it is a way of entering into relationship with the Triune God, "an instrument through which the knowledge of God... becomes accessible" to humanity. The heart of the book is a reading of five famous icons, including Andrei Rublev's icon of the Holy Trinity. Readers will learn about the history of these icons, their "writers" (creators), symbolism and place in Orthodox theology and liturgy. Six glossy illustrations round out the book. One wishes that the authors had refrained from straying occasionally into large philosophical debates, such as the issue of relativism versus objective reality; their forays into these quagmires are superficial and distracting. Still, the book is a feast; its authors compellingly suggest that icons offer a much-needed space for contemplation in a frenetic world. Indeed, this little book is itself such an oasis. Readers who like Frederica Mathewes-Green and Henri Nouwen will welcome this new addition to the icon shelf. (Feb.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781587431098
  • Publisher: Baker Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 2/1/2005
  • Pages: 150
  • Sales rank: 1,360,891
  • Product dimensions: 6.38 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Elizabeth Zelensky, a Russian Orthodox believer, lectures in history at Georgetown University.

Lela Gilbert has written and coauthored numerous books, including Islam at the Crossroads and Their Blood Cries Out.

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Table of Contents

Introduction
1. Salvation in Words and Images
2. Andrei Rublev's Icon of the Holy Trinity
3. The Vladimir Theotokos
4. Theophanes' Transfiguration of Christ
5. The Dormition of the Virgin
6. The Sinai Pantocrator
7. The Church: Where God Dwells among Men
Epilogue
Notes

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