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Representations and depictions of the deity

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  • rogue06
    replied
    Originally posted by tabibito View Post

    Then there's the whole thing of Jews being evicted from Rome a couple of times - which if I remember rightly, was done during the time of Pagan Rome, but Jews weren't subjected to institutionalised racism by Pagan Rome.
    There is logic somewhere in the claim, I'm sure: if only I could work out where.
    IIRC, at least once in the first quarter of the 1st cent. A.D., before there even were Christians.

    Leave a comment:


  • tabibito
    replied
    Originally posted by rogue06 View Post

    Yeah, because the moment after Christianity was no longer illegal (but not persecuted according to H_A)
    Then there's the whole thing of Jews being evicted from Rome a couple of times - which if I remember rightly, was done during the time of Pagan Rome, but Jews weren't subjected to institutionalised racism by Pagan Rome.
    There is logic somewhere in the claim, I'm sure: if only I could work out where.

    Leave a comment:


  • rogue06
    replied
    Originally posted by Hypatia_Alexandria View Post
    Strong associations do not necessarily imply that the cross was "openly displayed" as you have alleged.
    For some reason you skipped over Tertullian responding to critics who called Christians the equivalent of cross worshipers. Tell me oh faux historian, why would he have to reply to such a charge and why would it be made in the first place?

    Originally posted by Hypatia_Alexandria View Post
    Really? Who says this was particular only to Christians? I think you may find that standing or kneeling with the arms outstretched and palms upward was not unknown as a position to adopt for praying to the gods, as this Egyptian figure [which predates Christianity by a millennium] shows.

    Fair point, but it also depends on the stance. Having your arms held out in supplication isn't exactly the same as stretching your arms out to either side.

    Originally posted by Hypatia_Alexandria View Post
    None of this actually addresses the question put by Machinist.
    I'm sure he appreciates you speaking for him.

    It all goes to show that the cross as a symbol for Christianity stretches back to the roots of Christianity and didn't just suddenly appear as one. We've been using it since the beginning (see Paul's use of it and IIRC several scholars think that it is mentioned in Revelation as a symbol -- 7:2-3 -- indicating that the cross was used as a Christological identity marker from the beginning).

    Originally posted by Hypatia_Alexandria View Post
    After Christianity was granted toleration.

    They were not "routinely" persecuted.
    Aside from your two statements tending to be mutually contradictory if you wish to play that game then by your measure neither were the Jews.

    Originally posted by Hypatia_Alexandria View Post
    That is speculative as we have very little information as to how these various sects operated in private.
    Yeah, because the moment after Christianity was no longer illegal (but not persecuted according to H_A) the fact that crosses started appearing in public is obvious nothing more than an odd coincidence.

    You admit that crosses started appearing in public after the Christianity was no longer illegal, but try to then imply that had nothing to do with it.

    Leave a comment:


  • Hypatia_Alexandria
    replied
    Originally posted by rogue06 View Post
    FWIU, they were openly displayed enough pretty early on or you wouldn't have Tertullian (c. 155 - c. 220 A.D.) defending against the accusation of Christians being cross worshipers[1]. That he did strongly suggests that Christianity and the cross were already closely associated[2]
    Strong associations do not necessarily imply that the cross was "openly displayed" as you have alleged.


    Originally posted by rogue06 View Post
    This is verified by the fact that second- and third-century Christian texts mention how some Christian martyrs would make the sign of the cross by stretching out their arms such as in the Odes of Solomon and Acts of Paul and Thecla (the latter is quoted by Tertullian so it is definitely second cent.). Moreover, it appears that during this period many Christians would pray standing up with their arms stretched out in the form of a cross.
    Really? Who says this was particular only to Christians? I think you may find that standing or kneeling with the arms outstretched and palms upward was not unknown as a position to adopt for praying to the gods, as this Egyptian figure [which predates Christianity by a millennium] shows.



    Originally posted by rogue06 View Post
    Further Stott mentions how Hippolytus wrote in The Apostolic Tradition (c. 215 A.D.) that the sign of the cross was used by the bishop when anointing the person's forehead during Confirmation (Tertullian also mentions something similar) and notes that given Hippolytus' reputation for being very conservative about such matters he wouldn't have described rites and customs unless they were "already long-established."
    None of this actually addresses the question put by Machinist.

    Originally posted by rogue06 View Post
    Still, it wasn't until the fourth century, after the conversion of Constantine, that the cross as a symbol became much more publicly visible.
    After Christianity was granted toleration.

    Originally posted by rogue06 View Post
    Prior to that Christians were routinely persecuted meaning
    They were not "routinely" persecuted.

    Originally posted by rogue06 View Post
    that we were extremely reticent about portraying the cross openly and symbols of our faith were kept mostly private.
    That is speculative as we have very little information as to how these various sects operated in private.

    Leave a comment:


  • NorrinRadd
    replied
    Originally posted by Machinist View Post
    On the topic of representations of deity, I was wondering about the cross as a symbol. I guess the reason it's easy for protestants to accuse Orthodox folk and Catholics with idolatry is because symbols such as statues, icons and relics are representations of actual people...sentient beings.



    I'm just wondering how a statue or icon becomes an object of worship. What is meant by the accusation that that these things are being worshipped?
    Yes, the "sentient beings" is it for me. It doesn't *much* bother me when such items are just kind of "around." I mean, I'm a big fan of Nativity scenes (in spite of the historical issues of "three" Magi, and their being present at the stable). It bothers me more when people gaze adoringly at them, and it bothers me a lot when they bow to them or kiss them.

    Leave a comment:


  • rogue06
    replied
    Originally posted by Hypatia_Alexandria View Post
    I see you have read the wiki entry on the Christian Cross but your reply did not actually address the question put by Machinist which was "[I]When did the church start openly displaying crosses?"]
    FWIU, they were openly displayed enough pretty early on or you wouldn't have Tertullian (c. 155 - c. 220 A.D.) defending against the accusation of Christians being cross worshipers[1]. That he did strongly suggests that Christianity and the cross were already closely associated[2]

    This is verified by the fact that second- and third-century Christian texts mention how some Christian martyrs would make the sign of the cross by stretching out their arms such as in the Odes of Solomon and Acts of Paul and Thecla (the latter is quoted by Tertullian so it is definitely second cent.). Moreover, it appears that during this period many Christians would pray standing up with their arms stretched out in the form of a cross.

    Further Stott mentions how Hippolytus wrote in The Apostolic Tradition (c. 215 A.D.) that the sign of the cross was used by the bishop when anointing the person's forehead during Confirmation (Tertullian also mentions something similar) and notes that given Hippolytus' reputation for being very conservative about such matters he wouldn't have described rites and customs unless they were "already long-established."

    Still, it wasn't until the fourth century, after the conversion of Constantine, that the cross as a symbol became much more publicly visible. Prior to that Christians were routinely persecuted meaning that we were extremely reticent about portraying the cross openly and symbols of our faith were kept mostly private.

    But with Constantine, crucifixion as a punishment was forbidden, the persecution ended and the cross no longer had to remain hidden.






    1. Even before Tertullian there was Justin Martyr who proclaimed that God had placed the shape of the cross in everyday objects. In everything from the masts of ships to the standards of Roman legions.


    2. Keep in mind that even in its infancy Paul repeatedly uses the word "cross" in his letters as he responds to various conflicts stirred up by opponents (Galatians 2:18-20) even though he notes how it is a "stumbling block for the Jews and foolishness for Greeks and Romans" (I Corinthians 1:23). In fact, according to Augustine, even the Latin word for cross was harsh to the ears and supposedly it was so repulsive that Cicero refused to use it.

    Leave a comment:


  • Hypatia_Alexandria
    replied
    Originally posted by Machinist View Post
    Thank you HA and Rouge for the info. I thought I was onto a good question regarding why the Cross is not seen in the same way as icons and statues are. I don't see that there is an issue there really.
    As Jensen notes the gradual public use of the cross as an image stems from those early fourth century legends.

    Leave a comment:


  • Markus River
    replied
    Originally posted by Cow Poke View Post

    Yes, it would be somewhat equivalent to a person wearing a miniature electric chair on a necklace.
    Are you a fan of Lennie Bruce?

    quote-lenny-bruce-3-91-15.jpg

    Leave a comment:


  • Machinist
    replied
    Thank you HA and Rouge for the info. I thought I was onto a good question regarding why the Cross is not seen in the same way as icons and statues are. I don't see that there is an issue there really.

    Leave a comment:


  • Hypatia_Alexandria
    replied
    Originally posted by rogue06 View Post
    Read any authoritative or accredited historical work charting the rise of the cross in Christianity. It's all there.

    Other than that, Clement of Alexandria, Tertullian, and Hippolytus among others. The Jewish Encyclopedia, John Stott's The Cross of Christ (primarily the 1st chapter) and this article from the Biblical Archaeological Society this summer.
    I see you have read the wiki entry on the Christian Cross but your reply did not actually address the question put by Machinist which was "When did the church start openly displaying crosses?"

    The BAS article for which you you provided the link states the following:

    Scholars believe that the first surviving public image of Jesus’s crucifixion was on the fifth-century wooden doors of the Basilica of Santa Sabina, which is located on the Aventine Hill in Rome.2 Since it took approximately 400 years for Jesus’s crucifixion to become an acceptable public image, scholars have traditionally believed that this means the cross did not originally function as a symbol for Christians.

    That view is borne out by Robin M Jensen in chapter 3 of her 2017 book The Cross: History, Art, and Controversy, HUP:

    Despite the centrality of Christ's cross in scripture and early Christian texts, it rarely occurred in visual form before the fourth century. Symbolic allusions to the cross that showed up on small personal objects or grave markers - anchors, ship's masts, or other implements - were not graphic references to Jesus's crucifixion. Some early Christian epitaphs with crosses have been dated to the third century but it was the middle of the fourth century before the cross emerged as a regular feature in Christian iconography. Two precipitating events may be most responsible for this development: the Emperor Constantine I's vision of the cross [or christogram] before his decisive battle against his enemy Maxentius, and the discovery and subsequent distribution of the relics of the actual cross in Jerusalem. [....]

    She also notes in chapter 5 in a discussion on a possible fourth century jewelled cross being erected at the supposed site of the crucifixion that:

    "images of jeweled crosses had emerged elsewhere in the Christian world by the mid to late fourth century. These early examples include pottery lamps, a recently discovered glass paten from southern Spain, and a late fourth-century sarcophagus currently in the Vatican Museum More monumental examples begin to appear in the fifth- and sixth century churches, especially in Rome and Ravenna. Gemmed crosses almost suddenly seem to appear everywhere, from mosaic apses to covers of Gospel books, and from sixth-century Coptic tapestries to Byzantine silver patens."
    .

    Leave a comment:


  • Machinist
    replied
    On the topic of representations of deity, I was wondering about the cross as a symbol. I guess the reason it's easy for protestants to accuse Orthodox folk and Catholics with idolatry is because symbols such as statues, icons and relics are representations of actual people...sentient beings.



    I'm just wondering how a statue or icon becomes an object of worship. What is meant by the accusation that that these things are being worshipped?

    Leave a comment:


  • Cow Poke
    replied
    Originally posted by rogue06 View Post
    Stott offers an interesting idea as to why the cross was chosen when there were so many other potential symbols already in use in his The Cross of Christ but it is essentially just a good theory. Basically boils down to the rest representing various aspects of Jesus' life and ministry but they wanted to emphasize His death and resurrection and that was the best canidate
    Particularly, "the empty Cross".

    Leave a comment:


  • rogue06
    replied
    Originally posted by Cow Poke View Post
    Yes, it would be somewhat equivalent to a person wearing a miniature electric chair on a necklace.

    Quite amazing, then, that such a shameful symbol as "the cross" was so radically transformed.
    Stott offers an interesting idea as to why the cross was chosen when there were so many other potential symbols already in use in his The Cross of Christ but it is essentially just a good theory. Basically boils down to the rest representing various aspects of Jesus' life and ministry but they wanted to emphasize His death and resurrection and that was the best canidate

    Leave a comment:


  • Cow Poke
    replied
    Originally posted by Hypatia_Alexandria View Post

    The cross was not depicted because crucifixion was such a shameful death reserved for the lowest orders in society.
    Yes, it would be somewhat equivalent to a person wearing a miniature electric chair on a necklace.

    Quite amazing, then, that such a shameful symbol as "the cross" was so radically transformed.

    Leave a comment:


  • rogue06
    replied
    Originally posted by Markus River View Post

    IIRC the Buddy Christ figure was conceived by a committee formed by Cardinal Ignatius Glick, with a mandate to brighten up the rather dour persona of the catholic church. The biggest joke was having the Cardinal played by the late George Carlin, who was known as an outspoken atheist.
    George was definitely an unbeliever but I doubt he would be among the New Atheists like Hitchens and Dawkins. If you ever listened to his impression of a classmate asking the can God create a rock so heavy that He can't lift it he makes him sound like a twit. I don't think he would have agreed with their sloppy arguments and need to attack straw men.

    I think that Carlin was more of the Bertrand Russell type, but with a scathing wit.

    Leave a comment:

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