Three Treatises on the Divine Images
In AD 726, the Byzantine emperor ordered the destruction of all icons, or religious images, throughout the empire, and icons were subject to an imperial ban that was to last, with a brief remission, until AD 843. A defender of icons, St John of Damascus wrote three treatises against "those who attack the holy images." He differentiates between the veneration of icons, which is a matter of expressing honor, and idolatry, which is offering worship to something other than God.
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If you ever had hesitancy when seeing icons this is certainly a book to read. In this book great arguments for the use of icons is put forth, great enough to persuade me before even finishing the book!
The Third (and most lengthy) Treatise is mostly a combination of the First and Second, but it also has many things not told in the First and Second. At times it could be said that it is repetitive, as between the treaties sometimes there is even exact wording from another, but it never hurts to go over things twice!
Towards the end of the Third book, Saint John of Damascus cites many stories of Saints and miracles, (many involving icons and the like) which I found very interesting, both spiritually and historically (historically because it invokes memories of buildings in Constantinople and some Emperors such as Constantine and other people and things!)
In effect, Saint John of Damascus wrote a very great defense of icons and the theology and dogma of the Church, while today it can also be appreciated by secular scholars as it has historical elements.
I would recommend this book to everyone!
I am sorry for my terrible writing here