Intentional States and Iconography of Theotokos –

DOI: 10.55206/FXMO9347

Miroslav Dachev

National Academy for Theatre and Film Arts / Cultural and Semiotic Studies Center


rhetoric journalAbstract: In the image of the Theotokos constructed from canonical and apocryphal texts, the word does reveal certain states, each of which can be referred to and named, and subsequently depicted. Some of these are persistently recurrent, others are rare but characteristic. The word enables us to “see,” and the speech acts, with their illocutionary power, make this “seeing” more clearly focused. The more we understand the worlds of the word, the closer we come to the essence of the iconographic decisions. But behind both is an immutable world: the inner world of the Mother of God, with the characteristic of each context livedness and with the equally characteristic, in theological terms, dialogical relationship with Christ, beyond which interpretation is unthinkable. There are different ways of approaching and describing this inner world. One is to see the ways in which the states of the inner world relate to the outer world; to trace and make sense of their directionality. I intend to draw a line to Searle and his view of those states he identifies as intentional. I will try to show that we can think of images in terms of the nature of the intentional states implicit in them and that the latter can be a reliable guide to the typology of images.

Keywords: Iconography of the Theotokos, intentional states, speech acts, psychological mode, iconographic code.

Rhetoric and Communications Journal, issue 54, January 2023

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