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John of Damascus, St (Juan Damascene)

Fishburn and Hughes: (c.675-c.749). A Greek monk and theologian, declared a 'Doctor of the Church', who was the author of many books against heresy. John wrote extensively on the doctrine of Mariology, or the divine maternity of Mary, her exemption from original sin and her assumption into heaven. His antiheretical writings deal mainly with the nature of God and human free will, which he relates to reason and describes as a manifestation of man's choice of good. The term 'forms' said to have been used by John in connection with the 'Histriones' is an allusion to his staunch defence of images in the Iconoclastic Controversy. This dispute, which agitated the Greek Church in the eighth and ninth centuries, was about the veneration of icons and its conflict with the ancient Mosaic prohibition against the use of images. John defended images on the basis of the theological significance of the incarnation of God, and the importance that this assumption of human nature in the body of Jesus had upon Christian dogma. The Theologians