The tetragrammaton, יהוה in Hebrew and YHWH in Latin script, is the four-letter biblical name of the God of Israel. The books of the Torah and the rest of the Hebrew Bible contain this Hebrew name. Religiously observant Jews and those who follow Talmudic Jewish traditions do not pronounce יהוה, nor do they read aloud transliterated forms such as Yahweh. Common substitutions for Hebrew forms are hakadosh baruch hu, HaShem; the letters, properly read from right to left, are: The letters. In unpointed Biblical Hebrew, most vowels are not written and the rest are written only ambiguously, as certain consonants can double as vowel markers; these are referred to as matres lectionis. Therefore, in general, it is difficult to deduce how a word is pronounced only from its spelling, the tetragrammaton is a particular example: two of its letters can serve as vowels, two are vocalic place-holders, which are not pronounced; the original consonantal text of the Hebrew Bible was, several centuries provided with vowel marks by the Masoretes to assist reading.
In places that the consonants of the text to be read differed from the consonants of the written text, they wrote the qere in the margin as a note showing what was to be read. In such a case the vowels of the qere were written on the ketiv. For a few frequent words, the marginal note was omitted: these are called qere perpetuum. One of the frequent cases was the tetragrammaton, which according to Jewish practices should not be pronounced but read as "Adonai", or, if the previous or next word was Adonai, as "Elohim"; the combination produces יְהֹוָה and יֱהֹוה non-words that would spell "Yehovah" and "Yehovih" respectively. The oldest complete or nearly complete manuscripts of the Masoretic Text with Tiberian vocalisation, such as the Aleppo Codex and the Leningrad Codex, both of the 10th or 11th century write יְהוָה, with no pointing on the first h, it could be because the o diacritic point plays no useful role in distinguishing between Adonai and Elohim and so is redundant, or it could point to the qere being Shema, Aramaic for "the Name".
The Hebrew scholar Wilhelm Gesenius suggested that the Hebrew punctuation יַהְוֶה, transliterated into English as Yahweh, might more represent the pronunciation of the tetragrammaton than the Masoretic punctuation "יְהֹוָה", from which the English name Jehovah has been derived. His proposal to read YHWH as "יַהְוֶה" was based in large part on various Greek transcriptions, such as ιαβε, dating from the first centuries CE but on the forms of theophoric names. In his Hebrew Dictionary, Gesenius supports Yahweh because of the Samaritan pronunciation Ιαβε reported by Theodoret, because the theophoric name prefixes YHW and YW, the theophoric name suffixes YHW and YH, the abbreviated form YH can be derived from the form Yahweh. Gesenius's proposal to read YHWH as יַהְוֶה is accepted as the best scholarly reconstructed vocalised Hebrew spelling of the tetragrammaton. An image on the piece of pottery found at Kuntillet Ajrud is adjacent to a Hebrew inscription "Berakhti etkhem l’YHVH Shomron ul’Asherato" dated around 800 BCE, on the walls of the second tomb on the southern slope of the Khirbet el-Qom hill, on the seal from the collections of the Harvard Semitic Museum, on ostracons from the collections of Shlomo Moussaieff, on silver rolls from Ketef Hinnom, on inscriptions in the tombs of Khirbet Beit Lei, on ostracons from Tel Arad, on the Lachish letters and on a stone from Mount Gerizim.
The Elephantine papyri, on which the jhw form appears, with the form of jhh are found on Elephantine. One time jh appears, but it was a form of jhw in which the final letter in disappeared. In eight cases, the tetragram occurs in the formula of the oath: "God's jhh". God's name appears in the Greek magical texts, the formation of, established between the second century BCE to CE, it takes the following forms: Ieoa, Iaoai, Ioa, Iaeo, Ieou, Iabas, Iabe, Iaon. God's name in the form of Ἰαῶ appears in: Diodorus Siculus, Marcus Terentius Varro according to the message of John the Lydian, Pedanius Dioscorides, Aelius Herodian, Hesychius of Alexandria. A form of the name appears on the following Egyptian inscriptions: on the list of Amenhotep III discovered in the Temple of Amon in Soleb and in its copy from the time of Ramesses II in West Amara, on the list of places in the temple of Ramesses III in Medinet Habu. Mesha Stele The oldest known inscription of the tetragrammaton dates to 840 BCE, on the Mesha Stele.
It bears the earliest certain extra-biblical reference to the Israelite God Yahweh. The most recent discovery of a tetragrammaton inscription, dating to the 6th century BCE, was found written in Hebrew on two silver scrolls recovered from Jerusalem. Magical papyri The spellings of the te
In the practice of Christianity, canonical hours mark the divisions of the day in terms of periods of fixed prayer at regular intervals. A book of hours contains a version of, or selection from, such prayers; the practice of daily prayers grew from the Jewish practice of reciting prayers at set times of the day known as zmanim: for example, in the Acts of the Apostles, Saint Peter and John the Evangelist visit the Temple in Jerusalem for the afternoon prayers. Psalm 119:164 states: "Seven times a day I praise you for your righteous laws"; this practice is believed to have been passed down through the centuries from the Apostles, with different practices developing in different places. As Christian monasticism spread, the practice of specified hours and liturgical formats began to develop and become standardized. Around the year 484, the Greek-Cappadocian monk Sabbas the Sanctified began the process of recording the liturgical practices around Jerusalem, while the cathedral and parish rites in the Patriarchate of Constantinople evolved in an different manner.
In 525, Benedict of Nursia set out one of the earliest schemes for the recitation of the Psalter at the Office. The two major practices were synthesized, commencing in the 8th century, to yield an office of great complexity; the Cluniac Reforms of the 11th century renewed an emphasis on liturgy and the canonical hours in the reformed priories of the Order of Saint Benedict, with Cluny Abbey at their head. In the Catholic Church, canonical hours are called offices, since they refer to the official set of prayers of the Church, known variously as the officium divinum, the opus Dei; the current official version of the hours in the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church is called the Liturgy of the Hours in North America or divine office in Ireland and Britain. In Anglicanism, they are known as the daily or divine office, to distinguish them from the other'offices' of the Church. In the Eastern Orthodox Church and Eastern Catholic Churches, the canonical hours may be referred to as the divine services, the book of hours is called the horologion.
Despite numerous small differences in practice according to local custom, the overall order is the same among Byzantine Rite monasteries, although parish and cathedral customs vary rather more so by locale. The usage in Oriental Orthodoxy, the Assyrian Church of the East, the Eastern Catholic counterparts all differ from each other and from other rites. Well-established by the 9th century in the West, these canonical offices consisted of seven daily prayer events, including lauds, terce, none and compline, as well as the night office, sometimes referred to as vigils, consisting of a number of sections called'nocturnes'. Building on the recitation of psalms and canticles from scripture, the Church has added hymns, hagiographical readings, other prayers; the canonical hours stemmed from Jewish prayer. In the Old Testament, God commanded the Israelite priests to offer sacrifices of animals in the morning and evening; these sacrifices moved from the Tabernacle to Solomon's Temple in Jerusalem. During the Babylonian captivity, when the Temple was no longer in use, the first synagogues were established, the services of Torah readings and hymns began to evolve.
This "sacrifice of praise" began to be substituted for the sacrifices of animals. After the people returned to Judea, the prayer services were incorporated into Temple worship as well; as time passed, the Jews began to be scattered across the Greco-Roman world in what is known as the Jewish diaspora. By the time of the Roman Empire, the Jews began to follow the Roman system of conducting the business day in scheduling their times for prayer. In Roman cities, the bell in the forum rang the beginning of the business day at about six o'clock in the morning, noted the day's progress by striking again at about nine o'clock in the morning, tolled for the lunch break at noon, called the people back to work again at about three o'clock in the afternoon, rang the close of the business day at about six o'clock in the evening; the narrative of Jesus' crucifixion and death refers to the sixth and ninth hours: Now when the sixth hour had come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour.
And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice... and breathed His last. The first miracle of the apostles, the healing of the crippled man on the temple steps, occurred because Saint Peter and John the Apostle went to the Temple to pray. One of the defining moments of the early Church, the decision to include Gentiles among the community of believers, arose from a vision Peter had while praying at noontime; as Christianity began to separate from Judaism, the practice of praying at fixed times continued. The early church was known to pray the Psalms, which have remained the principal part of the canonical hours. By 60 AD, the Didache, the oldest known liturgical manual for Christians, recommended disciples to pray the Lord's Prayer three times a day. Pliny the Younger, not a Christian himself, mentions not only fixed times of prayer by believers, but specific services
A candle is an ignitable wick embedded in wax, or another flammable solid substance such as tallow, that provides light, in some cases, a fragrance. A candle can provide heat, or be used as a method of keeping time; the candle can be used during the event of a power outage to provide light. A person who makes candles is traditionally known as a chandler. Various devices have been invented to hold candles, from simple tabletop candlesticks known as candle holders, to elaborate chandeliers. For a candle to burn, a heat source is used to light the candle's wick, which melts and vaporizes a small amount of fuel. Once vaporized, the fuel combines with oxygen in the atmosphere to form a constant flame; this flame provides sufficient heat to keep the candle burning via a self-sustaining chain of events: the heat of the flame melts the top of the mass of solid fuel. As the solid fuel is melted and burned, the candle becomes shorter. Portions of the wick that are not emitting vaporized fuel are consumed in the flame.
The incineration of the wick limits the exposed length of the wick, thus maintaining a constant burning temperature and rate of fuel consumption. Some wicks require regular trimming with scissors to about one-quarter inch, to promote slower, steady burning, to prevent smoking. Special candle-scissors called "snuffers" were produced for this purpose in the 20th century and were combined with an extinguisher. In modern candles, the wick is constructed; this ensures that the end of the wick gets oxygen and is consumed by fire—a self-trimming wick. The word candle comes from Middle English candel, from Old English and from Anglo-Norman candele, both from Latin candēla, from candēre, to shine. Prior to the candle, people used oil lamps. Liquid oil lamps had a tendency to spill, the wick had to be advanced by hand. Romans began making true dipped candles from tallow, beginning around 500 BC. European candles of antiquity were made from various forms of natural fat and wax. In Ancient Rome, candles were made of tallow due to the prohibitive cost of beeswax.
It is possible that they existed in Ancient Greece, but imprecise terminology makes it difficult to determine. The earliest surviving candles originated in Han China around 200 BC; these early Chinese candles were made from whale fat. During the Middle Ages, tallow candles were most used. By the 13th century, candle making had become a guild craft in France; the candle makers went from house to house making candles from the kitchen fats saved for that purpose, or made and sold their own candles from small candle shops. Beeswax, compared to animal-based tallow, burned cleanly, without smoky flame. Beeswax candles were expensive, few people could afford to burn them in their homes in medieval Europe. However, they were used for church ceremonies. In the 18th and 19th centuries, spermaceti, a waxy substance produced by the sperm whale, was used to produce a superior candle that burned longer and gave off no offensive smell. In the 18th century, colza oil and rapeseed oil came into use as much cheaper substitutes.
The manufacture of candles became an industrialized mass market in the mid 19th century. In 1834, Joseph Morgan, a pewterer from Manchester, patented a machine that revolutionised candle making, it allowed for continuous production of molded candles by using a cylinder with a moveable piston to eject candles as they solidified. This more efficient mechanized production produced about 1,500 candles per hour; this allowed candles to be an affordable commodity for the masses. Candlemakers began to fashion wicks out of braided strands of cotton; this technique makes wicks curl over as they burn, maintaining the height of the wick and therefore the flame. Because much of the excess wick is incinerated, these are referred to as "self-trimming" or "self-consuming" wicks. In the mid-1850s, James Young succeeded in distilling paraffin wax from coal and oil shales at Bathgate in West Lothian and developed a commercially viable method of production. Paraffin could be used to make inexpensive candles of high quality.
It was a bluish-white wax, which left no unpleasant odor, unlike tallow candles. By the end of the 19th century candles were made from stearic acid. By the late 19th century, Price's Candles, based in London, was the largest candle manufacturer in the world. Founded by William Wilson in 1830, the company pioneered the implementation of the technique of steam distillation, was thus able to manufacture candles from a wide range of raw materials, including skin fat, bone fat, fish oil and industrial greases. Despite advances in candle making, the candle industry declined upon the introduction of superior methods of lighting, including kerosene and lamps and the 1879 invention of the incandescent light bulb. From this point on, candles came to be marketed as more of a decorative item. Before the invention of electric lighting and oil lamps were used for illumination. In areas without electricity, they are still used routinely; until the 20th century, candles were more common in northern Europe. In southern Europe and the Mediterranean, oil lamps predominated.
In the developed world today, candles are used for their aesthetic value and scent to set a soft, warm, or romantic ambiance, for emergency lighting during electrical power failures, and
The New Testament is the second part of the Christian biblical canon, the first part being the Old Testament, based on the Hebrew Bible. The New Testament discusses the teachings and person of Jesus, as well as events in first-century Christianity. Christians regard both the New Testaments together as sacred scripture; the New Testament has accompanied the spread of Christianity around the world. It serves as a source for Christian theology and morality. Extended readings and phrases directly from the New Testament are incorporated into the various Christian liturgies; the New Testament has influenced religious and political movements in Christendom and left an indelible mark on literature and music. The New Testament is a collection of Christian works written in the common Greek language of the 1st century AD, at different times by various writers, the modern consensus is that it provides important evidence regarding Judaism in the 1st century. In all Christian traditions today, the New Testament consists of 27 books: the four gospels, The Acts of the Apostles, twenty-one epistles, Revelation.
The united Catholic Church defined the 27-book canon. The earliest known complete list of the 27 books is by the 4th-century eastern Catholic bishop Athanasius; the first time that church councils approved this list was with the councils of Hippo and Carthage in North Africa and Pope Innocent I ratified the same canon in 405, but it is probable that a Council in Rome in 382 under pope Damasus gave the same list first. These councils provided the canon of the Old Testament, which included the apocryphal books; the original texts were written in the first century of the Christian Era, in Greek, the common language of the Eastern Mediterranean from the conquests of Alexander the Great until the Muslim conquests in the 7th century AD. All the works that became incorporated into the New Testament are believed to have been written no than around 120 AD. John A. T. Robinson, Dan Wallace, William F. Albright dated all the books of the New Testament before 70 AD. Others give a final date of 80 AD or of 96 AD.
Collections of related texts such as letters of the Apostle Paul and the Canonical Gospels of Matthew, Mark and John were joined to other collections and single works in different combinations to form various Christian canons of Scripture. Over time, some disputed books, such as the Book of Revelation and the Minor Catholic Epistles were introduced into canons in which they were absent. Other works earlier held to be Scripture, such as 1 Clement, the Shepherd of Hermas, the Diatessaron, were excluded from the New Testament; the Old Testament canon is not uniform among all major Christian groups including Roman Catholics, the Greek Orthodox Church, the Slavic Orthodox Churches, the Armenian Orthodox Church. However, the twenty-seven-book canon of the New Testament, at least since Late Antiquity, has been universally recognized within Christianity; the phrase new testament, or new covenant first occurs in Jeremiah 31:31. The same Greek phrase for'new covenant' is found elsewhere in the New Testament.
In early Bible translations into Latin, the phrase was rendered foedus,'federation', in Jeremiah 31:31, was rendered testamentum in Hebrews 8:8 and other instances, from which comes the English term New Testament. Modern English, like Latin, distinguishes testament and covenant as alternative translations, the treatment of the term Διαθήκη diathḗkē varies in Bible translations into English. John Wycliffe's 1395 version is a translation of the Latin Vulgate and so follows different terms in Jeremiah and Hebrews: Lo! Days shall come, saith the Lord, I shall make a new covenant with the house of Israel, with the house of Judah. For he reproving him saith, Lo! Days come, saith the Lord, when I shall establish a new testament on the house of Israel, on the house of Judah. Use of the term New Testament to describe a collection of first and second-century Christian Greek scriptures can be traced back to Tertullian. In Against Marcion, written c. 208 AD, he writes of: the Divine Word, doubly edged with the two testaments of the law and the gospel.
And Tertullian continues in the book, writing: it is certain that the whole aim at which he has strenuously laboured in the drawing up of his Antitheses, centres in this, that he may establish a diversity between the Old and the New Testaments, so that his own Christ may be separate from the Creator, as belonging to this rival god, as alien from the law and the prophets. By the 4th century, the existence—even if not the exact contents—of both an Old and New Testament had been established. Lactantius, a 3rd–4th century Christian author wrote in his early-4th-century Latin Institutiones Divinae: But all scripture is divided into two Testaments; that which preceded the advent and passion of Christ—that is, the law and the prophets—is called the Old.
The Gospel Book, Evangelion, or Book of the Gospels is a codex or bound volume containing one or more of the four Gospels of the Christian New Testament – all four – centering on the life of Jesus of Nazareth and the roots of the Christian faith. The term is used of the liturgical book called the Evangeliary, from which are read the portions of the Gospels used in the Mass and other services, arranged according to the order of the liturgical calendar. Liturgical use in churches of a distinct Gospel book remains normal compulsory, in Eastern Christianity, common in Roman Catholicism and some parts of Anglicanism and Lutheranism. Other Protestant churches just use a complete Bible. In the early Middle Ages, the production of copies of the Bible in its entirety was rare, if only because of the huge expense of the parchment required. Individual books or collections of books were produced for specific purposes. From the 4th century Gospel Books were produced for liturgical use, as well as private study and as "display books" for ceremonial and ornamental purposes.
The Codex Washingtonianus is an early example of a book containing only the four gospels, in Greek, written in the 4th or 5th century. By the 7th century particular gospel texts were allocated to days in the liturgical calendar. Many of these volumes were elaborate. In the East they remained a significant subject for illumination until the arrival of printing; the Evangelist portrait was a particular feature of their decoration. Most of the masterpieces of both Insular and Ottonian illumination are Gospel Books, there are many Byzantine and Carolingian examples, but most Gospel Books were never illuminated at all, or only with decorated initials and other touches. They contained, in addition to the text of the Gospels themselves, supporting texts including Canon Tables, summaries and other explanatory material. Latin books include the Letter of Jerome to Pope Damasus where Jerome set out to the Pope the reasoning behind his new Vulgate translation and arrangement of the texts, many Greek ones the Epistula ad Carpianum of Eusebius of Caesarea explaining the Eusebian Canons he had devised.
Luxury illuminated gospel books were a feature of the Early Middle Ages, as the evangeliary or a general lectionary became more common for liturgical use, other texts became most favoured for elaborate decoration. In current Roman Catholic usage, the Book of the Gospels or Evangeliary contains the full text of the passages from all four gospels that the deacon or priest is to read or chant at Mass in the course of the liturgical year. However, use of the Book of the Gospels is not mandatory, the gospel readings are included in the standard Lectionary; the Book of the Gospels, if used, is brought to the altar in the entrance procession, while the Lectionary may not. When carried in procession, the Book of the Gospels is held elevated, though not over the head, it is proper for the deacon to carry the Book of the Gospels in procession, as the reading of the gospel is his particular province. When there is no deacon, the Book may be carried by a lector. Upon reaching the altar, the deacon or lector bows in veneration of the altar places the Book upon the altar, where it remains until the Alleluia.
During the singing of the Alleluia, the deacon, or in his absence, a priest, removes the Book from the altar and processes with it to the ambo. If incense is used, the Book of the Gospels is censed by the deacon before chanting. An altar server or acolyte will swing the censer during the reading or chanting; the Book of the Gospels remains on the ambo until the Mass concludes, unless it is taken to a bishop to be kissed, after which it may be placed on the credence table or another appropriate and dignified place. If the Rite of Dismissal of catechumens is celebrated, the Book of the Gospels is carried in procession in front of the catechumens as they leave the church. In the Episcopal Church in the United States of America the practice of using a Gospel Book was recovered with the 1979 US Book of Common Prayer, which suggests that the lessons and gospel "be read from a book or books of appropriate size and dignity". Following this several publishers have produced gospel books for use in the Episcopal Church, other books have been compiled.
A deacon, server or acolyte carries the gospel book in the entrance procession, holding the book as high as possible with arms extended, places it on the altar until time for the gospel proclamation. Afterward, it may be placed on a side table or a stand. Among Eastern Orthodox and Eastern Catholics the Gospel Book is important liturgically, it is considered to be an icon of Christ, is venerated in the same manner as an icon. The Gospel Book contains the readings that are used at Matins, the Divine Liturgy and other services. Among the Greeks the modern liturgical Gospel Book is laid out in order of the cycle of readings as they occur in the ecclesiastical year, with a section in the back providing the Gospel readings for Matins and special occasions, is thus an evangeliary rather than a gospel book. In the Slavic usage, the Gospel Book contains the full text of the four Gospels in canonical order, with annotatio
Jacob given the name Israel, is regarded as a Patriarch of the Israelites. According to the Book of Genesis, Jacob was the third Hebrew progenitor with whom God made a covenant, he is the son of Isaac and Rebecca, the grandson of Abraham and Bethuel, the nephew of Ishmael, the younger twin brother of Esau. Jacob had twelve sons and at least one daughter, by his two wives and Rachel, by their handmaidens Bilhah and Zilpah. Jacob's twelve sons, named in Genesis, were Reuben, Levi, Dan, Gad, Issachar, Zebulun and Benjamin, his only daughter mentioned in Genesis is Dinah. The twelve sons became the progenitors of the "Tribes of Israel"; as a result of a severe drought in Canaan and his sons moved to Egypt at the time when his son Joseph was viceroy. After 17 years in Egypt, Jacob died, the length of Jacob's life was 147 years. Joseph carried Jacob's remains to the land of Canaan, gave him a stately burial in the same Cave of Machpelah as were buried Abraham, Isaac and Jacob's first wife, Leah. Jacob is mentioned in a number of sacred scriptures, including the Hebrew Bible, the Talmud, the New Testament, the Quran and the Book of Mormon.
According to the folk etymology found in Genesis 25:26, the name Yaʿaqob יעקב is derived from aqeb עָקֵב "heel". The historical origin of the name is uncertain. Yaʿqob-'el is notably recorded as a placename in a list by Thutmose III; the same name is recorded earlier still, in cuneiform inscriptions. The suggestion that the personal name may be shortened from this compound name, which would translate to "may El protect", originates with Bright; the Septuagint renders the name Ιακωβος, whence Latin Jacobus, English Jacob. The name Israel given to Jacob following the episode of his wrestling with the angel is etymologized as composition of אֵל el "god" and the root שָׂרָה śarah "to rule, have power, prevail over": שָׂרִיתָ עִם־אֱלֹהִים; the biblical account of the life of Jacob is found in the Book of Genesis, chapters 25–50. Jacob and his twin brother, were born to Isaac and Rebecca after 20 years of marriage, when Isaac was 60 years of age. Rebekah went to inquire of God why she was suffering.
She received the prophecy that twins were fighting in her womb and would continue to fight all their lives after they became two separate nations. The prophecy said that "the one people shall be stronger than the other people. According to Genesis 25:25, Isaac and Rebecca named the first son Hebrew: Esau; the second son they named יעקב, Jacob. The boys displayed different natures as they matured. ... and Esau was a man of the field. Moreover, the attitudes of their parents toward them differed: "And Isaac loved Esau, because he did eat of his venison: but Rebecca loved Jacob." Genesis 25:29–34 tells the account of Esau selling his birthright to Jacob. This passage tells that Esau, returning famished from the fields, begged Jacob to give him some of the stew that Jacob had just made. Jacob offered to give Esau a bowl of stew in exchange for his birthright; as Isaac aged, he became blind and was uncertain when he would die, so he decided to bestow Esau's birthright upon him. He requested. Isaac requested that Esau make "savory meat" for him out of the venison, according to the way he enjoyed it the most, so that he could eat it and bless Esau.
Rebecca overheard this conversation. It is suggested that she realized prophetically that Isaac's blessings would go to Jacob, since she was told before the twins' birth that the older son would serve the younger. Rebecca blessed Jacob and she ordered Jacob to bring her two kid goats from their flock so that he could take Esau's place in serving Isaac and receiving his blessing. Jacob protested that his father would recognize their deception since Esau was hairy and he himself was smooth-skinned, he feared his father would curse him as soon as he felt him, but Rebecca offered to take the curse herself insisted that Jacob obey her. Jacob did as his mother instructed and, when he returned with the kids, Rebekah made the savory meat that Isaac loved. Before she sent Jacob to his father, she dressed him in Esau's garments and laid goatskins on his arms and neck to simulate hairy skin. Disguised as Esau, Jacob entered Isaac's room. Surprised that Esau was back so soon, Isaac asked. Jacob responded, "Because the LORD your God brought it to me."
Rashi, on Genesis 27:21 says Isaac's suspicions were aroused more, because Esau never used the personal name of God. Isaac demanded that Jacob come close so he could feel him, but the
An icon is a religious work of art, most a painting, in the cultures of the Eastern Orthodox Church, Oriental Orthodoxy, the Roman Catholic, certain Eastern Catholic churches. The most common subjects include Christ, Mary and angels. Although associated with "portrait" style images concentrating on one or two main figures, the term covers most religious images in a variety of artistic media produced by Eastern Christianity, including narrative scenes. Icons can represent various scenes in the Bible. Icons may be cast in metal, carved in stone, embroidered on cloth, painted on wood, done in mosaic or fresco work, printed on paper or metal, etc. Comparable images from Western Christianity are not classified as "icons", although "iconic" may be used to describe a static style of devotional image. Eastern Orthodox tradition holds that the production of Christian images dates back to the early days of Christianity, that it has been a continuous tradition since then. Modern academic art history considers that, while images may have existed earlier, the tradition can be traced back only as far as the 3rd century, that the images which survive from Early Christian art differ from ones.
The icons of centuries can be linked closely, to images from the 5th century onwards, though few of these survive. Widespread destruction of images occurred during the Byzantine Iconoclasm of 726–842, although this did settle permanently the question of the appropriateness of images. Since icons have had a great continuity of style and subject. At the same time there has been development. Christian tradition dating from the 8th century identifies Luke the Evangelist as the first icon painter. Aside from the legend that Pilate had made an image of Christ, the 4th-century Eusebius of Caesarea, in his Church History, provides a more substantial reference to a "first" icon of Jesus, he relates that King Abgar of Edessa sent a letter to Jesus at Jerusalem, asking Jesus to come and heal him of an illness. In this version there is no image. A account found in the Syriac Doctrine of Addai mentions a painted image of Jesus in the story. Further legends relate that the cloth remained in Edessa until the 10th century, when it was taken to Constantinople.
It went missing in 1204 when Crusaders sacked Constantinople, but by numerous copies had established its iconic type. The 4th-century Christian Aelius Lampridius produced the earliest known written records of Christian images treated like icons in his Life of Alexander Severus that formed part of the Augustan History. According to Lampridius, the emperor Alexander Severus, himself not a Christian, had kept a domestic chapel for the veneration of images of deified emperors, of portraits of his ancestors, of Christ, Apollonius and Abraham. Saint Irenaeus, in his Against Heresies says scornfully of the Gnostic Carpocratians: "They possess images, some of them painted, others formed from different kinds of material, they crown these images, set them up along with the images of the philosophers of the world, to say, with the images of Pythagoras, Plato, Aristotle, the rest. They have other modes of honouring these images, after the same manner of the Gentiles ". On the other hand, Irenaeus does not speak critically of icons or portraits in a general sense—only of certain gnostic sectarians' use of icons.
Another criticism of image veneration appears in the non-canonical 2nd-century Acts of John, in which the Apostle John discovers that one of his followers has had a portrait made of him, is venerating it: "...he went into the bedchamber, saw the portrait of an old man crowned with garlands, lamps and altars set before it. And he called him and said: Lycomedes, what do you mean by this matter of the portrait? Can it be one of thy gods, painted here? For I see that you are still living in heathen fashion." In the passage John says, "But this that you have now done is childish and imperfect: you have drawn a dead likeness of the dead." At least some of the hierarchy of the Christian churches still opposed icons in the early 4th century. At the Spanish non-ecumenical Synod of Elvira bishops concluded, "Pictures are not to be placed in churches, so that they do not become objects of worship and adoration". Bishop Epiphanius of Salamis, wrote his letter 51 to John, Bishop of Jerusalem in which he recounted how he tore down an image in a church and admonished the other bishop that such images are "opposed... to our religion".
Elsewhere in his Church History, Eusebius reports seeing what he took to be portraits of Jesus and Paul, mentions a bronze statue at Banias / Paneas under Mount Hermon, of which he wrote, "They say that this statue is an image of Jesus". John Francis Wilson suggests the possibility that this refers to a pagan bronze statue whose tru