Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Ritual Violence in the Hebrew BibleNew Perspectives$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Saul M. Olyan

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780190249588

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190249588.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 26 January 2021

Cognitive Perspectives on Iconoclasm

Cognitive Perspectives on Iconoclasm

(p.93) 4 Cognitive Perspectives on Iconoclasm
Ritual Violence in the Hebrew Bible

Nathaniel B. Levtow

Oxford University Press

This chapter explores the phenomenon of iconoclasm from the perspectives of cognitive science. It argues that iconoclasm engages the same cognitive and ritual dynamics as iconism, only from an oppositional standpoint. These dynamics include the attribution of mind and agency to all things called gods in ancient West Asia and associated ritual practices that generate a conceptual fluidity between artifacts and living things. Iconic sacrificial cult is identified as a cognitively optimal expression of these natural, evolutionarily successful human tendencies toward anthropomorphic projection and conceptual fluidity. Iconoclasm is identified as a mode of transmission for non-optimal aniconic traditions, the long-term success of which depend on memorable violence against images.

Keywords:   iconoclasm, image, cognitive science of religion, agency, ritual, violence, idolatry, monotheism, icon, anthropomorphism

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .