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Praying with Icons Paperback – June 1, 2008
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Top Customer Reviews
I stumbled into this book. The library I use most often has very few books in its "religion and philosophy" section. I have read most of them. This book has kept staring at me from the shelves. I did not pick it up because I thought of it as an "art" book. You see, although I come from a family of artists, I am not one of them-you might say I have an art "allergy". However, this book has been persistent. Every time I have gone to the library...there it is on the shelf (especially since it has only been checked out three times in the three years it has called the library home-me being number three). I am glad I finally caved and read it.
I am in many ways ignorant of the traditions of the Orthodox Church. One of the great things about this book is Mr. Forest's ability to put Orthodox concepts and traditions into very understandable terms. He begins the book with a short history of icons. He then briefly outlines the qualities of icons, what it takes to be an iconographer, and ends Part I with a very brief but fascinating discussion of the use of color in iconography. The section on color really intrigued me. Each color represents some spiritual quality-for instance: "Blues are associated with heaven, mystery, and the mystical life", while "Red, the color of blood, suggests life, vitality, and beauty".
In Part II Forest discusses prayer.Read more ›
To my mind, there are three different but interrelated aspects of this book that are especially worth noting.
The first is Forest's argument that "beauty bears witness to God," and that in depicting holy things beautifully, icons enhance our relationship with the Divine. This is a point well worth considering. Too often, I fear, beauty in the context of worship is either dismissed as irrelevant (all that matters is the word), venerated for its own sake (high church preciousness), or overdone and distractingly gaudy. But Forest reminds us that the beauty of icons is intended to aid in the transfiguration of those who pray before them. Icons are images of the wholeness of God, and they convey and impart some of that wholeness to us through their beauty. It takes a great deal of artistry to manifest that kind of beauty.
The second point worth noting is Forest's observation that the writing/painting of an icon is in itself an act of worship and service, entered into reverently and prayerfully. There are traditions that dictate how the wood is prepared, how the colors are selected, what they represent, and so on. The care and love with which icons are made is a good reminder that all work with God's creation is, or ought to be, mindful and reverential. The fruits of all our mental and physical labor are, in one manner of speaking, iconic.Read more ›
His introduction page, about him and his wife receiving a rare and beautiful icon of Mary and their reverence in opening it grabs the faithful reader immediately. One wants to discover what makes icons so special. As an Orthodox Christian, I found his opening statements to be reverent and exciting. He brilliantly gives a concise but needed history on icons since many people have no idea why there are icons. He writes about how icons are a "transmission of Christian tradition and faith" and how they are "an aid to worship." The reader will further learn how icons are made, the prayer of the iconographer and the importance of icons in the life of the Christian faith.
The pictures in the book of various icons are a great aid and are intertwined nicely in the text (some color and some black and white photos). A great buy for any Christian and in particular the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox faithful.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I now can use icons to deepen my prayer life. This book is very informational and interesting.Published 8 days ago by Allen
My friend from college recommended this book to me 5 years ago. He said it was the best book on icons he has ever read. As a catholic I thought I would pick it up. It was great. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Aarontrujillo
As a Roman Catholic deacon who has recently begun writing icons, I am very impressed with this beautiful book by Jim Forest. Read morePublished 15 months ago by W. Seifert
Excellent for those new to the subject as well as those with background. Easy to read and comprehend yet has depth. Read morePublished 24 months ago by Kindle Customer
I thoroughly enjoyed this book which is written with such love and respect. The information is good and the practises are easy to implement . Read morePublished on April 4, 2014 by Ozeekat
I enjoy reading this on my kindle and the fact that it can read to me! I've recently had surgery and cannot wear my glasses yet wanted to know the contents of the book. Read morePublished on January 4, 2014 by Elizabeth Heidler
Absolutely wonderful intro to living with and praying with icons. Very easy and enjoyable to read. Great history and info about icons, both as religious items and pieces of art. Read morePublished on July 17, 2013 by Ann S
Beautiful inspiring Really love it revised with new material added all good stuff. Coulr read again and again many times.Published on March 30, 2013 by Jake Thegeeser