Movement and Miracle in Michael Psellos’s Account of the Blachernae Icon of the Theotokos

Charles Barber

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Bachelard's model is profoundly logocentric even as it seeks to open subjectivity to that which lies beyond the intellect. It delights in the language of those poets and writers who confront the other with the imaginary force of words. As such, it is arguably constrained by the medium of its expression. The chapter suggest that the power of the pre-modern icon lies in those spaces that open beyond words. The judicial point also determines Psellos's larger argument, namely that it is the inability to understand the miracle and therefore to represent it in discourse, which ought to remind the reader that he or she confronts something miraculous in the Blachernae. Psellos returns to the relative impotence of words in the face of miracle when he addresses the topic of the crowd that witnesses the advent of the Mother of God. The miracle was meant to take place every Friday evening in the church of the Theotokos at Blachernae in Constantinople.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationEnvisioning Experience in Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages
Subtitle of host publicationDynamic Patterns in Texts and Images
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9781317142065
ISBN (Print)9781409439486
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Arts and Humanities


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