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“Graphic Signs” in Early Christianity

March 17, 2017

I’m pleased to have notice of the publication of my contribution to a multi-author volume: Graphic Signs of Identity, Faith, and Power in Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages, eds. Ildar Garipzanov, C. Goodson, H. McGuire (Brepols, 2017; the publisher’s online catalogue entry here).  My essay = “Earliest Christian Graphic Symbols:Examples and References from the Second/Third Centuries”(pp.25-44).

I introduce the “nomina sacra” and the “staurogram,” and then discuss various symbols referred to in Christian texts of the first three centuries: the cross (the T-shape), and fish symbolism.

The remainder of the essays, by a galaxy of scholars, are mainly focused on later centuries, and explore how “graphic symbols” (i.e., non-representational and non-textual) functioned to express and promote “identity, faith and power.”  I was invited to contribute, even though my own expertise and focus are on the first Christian centuries, and am honoured to be included with the various respected colleagues in the volume.

I have uploaded the pre-publication version of the essay on this blog site under the “Selected published essays” tab.

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  1. Dr Nick Tavani permalink

    The fish graphic was quite popular during the modern Jesus Movement and is often seen on bumper stickers (along with the Darwin legged fish version). Any comments connecting the modern and ancient use of such symbols?

    • The fish became a Christian symbol early on and at times has re-appeared in favour.

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