In the Name of the Image: Figurative Representation in Islamic and Christian Cultures

Ed. by Axel Langer, Berlin: Hatje Cantz, 2022

German edition: Im Namen des Bildes: Die figürliche Darstellung in den islamischen & christlichen Kulturen, Berlin, Hatje Cantz, 2022.

More info


In the Name of the Image primarily attempts to direct attention to the history of both Islamic and Christian cultures, tracing and analyzing their ways of dealing with images. Even though both Christianity and Islam are familiar with religious bans on images, pictures, portraits, and other works of pictorial art can still be found in both cultural areas. Still, the prohibition of images is mainly associated with Islam, while the question of why, for example, statues of Mary are worshipped in (Catholic) churches, is rarely posed. What was the function of the image and what sort of meaning did it have? Whom did the image address, and what message did it send? What role did theology play in this, and what role was assigned to secular ruling powers? It turns out that there are not only diff erences between the two cultures, but unexpected similarities as well. Ultimately, this is a story that fl uctuates between iconophilism and iconophobia, between faith in images and criticism of them.