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Gönderen Konu: The History of the Christian Fish Symbol  (Okunma sayısı 4396 defa)

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Mayıs 28, 2013, 09:39:45 ÖS
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The fish outline is a logical symbol for the early Christian church to adopt. Fish are often mentioned in the gospels. This is what one would expect, if Jesus did most of his teaching in the Galilee. The synoptic gospels state this, although the Gospel of John denies it. Fish were a staple in the diet of Galilee.

Some gospel verses which mention fish are:
*Mark 1:17: "Come after Me, and I will make you become fishers of men."
 
*Matthew 12:40: "...Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth."
 
*Matthew 14:17: "And they said to Him, 'We have here only five loaves and two fish.'"
 
*Luke 5:6: "And when they had done this, they caught a great number of fish, and their net was breaking."
 
*Luke 24:42: "So they gave Him a piece of a broiled fish and some honeycomb."
 
*John 21:6: "And He said to them, 'Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.' So they cast, and now they were not able to draw it in because of the multitude of fish."
 
*1 Corinthians 15:39: "All flesh is not the same flesh, but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fish, and another of birds."

Some Christians believe that a second link between their religion and the fish symbol is seen in the Greek word for fish (ichthus, spelled: Iota Chi Theta Upsilon Sigma). That is an acrostic which has many translations in English. The most popular appears to be "Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior" 16 [Iesous (Jesus) CHristos (Christ) THeou (God) Uiou (Son) Soter (Savior)]. Alternative meanings (in order of decreasing popularity on the Internet) are:

*"Jesus Christ, God's Son, Savior."
 
*"Jesus Christ, of God, the Son, the Savior"
*"Jesus Christ, the Son of God, Savior."
*"Jesus Christ, God's Son, our Savior"
 *"Jesus Christ God Son Savior"

An acrostic is an "arrangement of words in which the first letter of each line ordinarily combines with others to form a word or words or the alphabet." 1

The Apostles were often referred to as "fishers of men". Followers of Christianity were called Pisciculi; the root of this Latin word is "fish". The symbols of "sacramental fish, with wine and a basket of bread represents the Eucharist and the Last Supper in Christian art." 2 The symbol was simple to draw and was often used among Christians as a type of password during times of persecution by the Roman government. If two strangers met and were unsure whether each other was a Christian, one would draw an arc in the earth like:). If the other were a Christian, they would complete the symbol with a reverse arc: (), forming the outline of a fish.

According to Albatrus.org: "When threatened by Romans in the first centuries after Christ, Christians used the fish [symbol to] mark meeting places and tombs, or to distinguish friends from foes."

In modern times, the fish outline symbol is experiencing a comeback. It is commonly seen in the form of a bumper sticker or casting mounted on the trunk lids of cars. The body of the symbol may be empty, or may contain a name ("Jesus" or "ICTUS"). This has inspired some Secularists, Atheists and promoters of the theory of evolution to mimic the Christian fish symbol with one of their own. It usually has "DARWIN" in the body of the fish, and little legs underneath. This has prompted "fish wars" between supporters of the secular and religious symbols. Reference 3 contains a humorous expose of the battle between the Darwin and Christian fish. It displays some new species such as the "Evolve Fish" (a fish with "EVOLVE" on its body and a wrench in one of its forepaws) and the "Shark Jesus Fish" (a shark that eats all types of Jesus Fish).

We were asked by a visitor to our web site whether the orientation of the fish symbol was important. He was about to have it inlaid into a very expensive instrument. We surfed a few dozen web sites on the Internet and found dozens of Ichthus symbols:

*13 facing upwards
*11 facing to the left
*10 facing to the right
*None facing downwards.

We also found a satirical essay "Experts concerned about backward Jesus fishes" which suggested, with tongue in cheek, that fish swimming to the right is "a duplicitous tool of Satan, the Lord of Lies...Our children are viewing these fish and are losing their grip on morality....These backwards fishes, and all their inherent evils could destroy a society." 13

The most meaningful orientation is probably to have the fish swimming to the left, as is shown above. The symbol then resembles the first letter of the Greek alphabet, alpha. That recalls Revelation 1:8:

    "I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty." (King James Version).


The pre-Christian History of the Fish Symbol:

The fish symbol has been used for millennia worldwide as a religious symbol associated with the Pagan Great Mother Goddess. It is the outline of her vulva. The fish symbol was often drawn by overlapping two very thin crescent moons. One represented the crescent shortly before the new moon; the other shortly after, when the moon is just visible. The Moon is the heavenly body that has long been associated with the Goddess, just as the sun is a symbol of the God.

The link between the Goddess and fish was found in various areas of the ancient world:

*In China, Great Mother Kwan-yin often portrayed in the shape of a fish.
*In India, the Goddess Kali was called the "fish-eyed one"
 
*In Egypt, Isis was called the Great Fish of the Abyss
 
*In Greece the Greek word "delphos" meant both fish and womb. The word is derived from the location of the ancient Oracle at Delphi who worshipped the original fish goddess, Themis. The later fish Goddess, Aphrodite Salacia, was worshipped by her followers on her sacred day, Friday. They ate fish and engaging in orgies. From her name comes the English word "salacious" which means lustful or obscene. Also from her name comes the name of our fourth month, April. In later centuries, the Christian church adsorbed this tradition by requiring the faithful to eat fish on Friday - a tradition that was only recently abandoned.
 
*In ancient Rome Friday is called "dies veneris" or Day of Venus, the Pagan Goddess of Love.
 
*Throughout the Mediterranean, mystery religions used fish, wine and bread for their sacramental meal.
 
*In Scandinavia, the Great Goddess was named Freya; fish were eaten in her honor. The 6th day of the week was named "Friday" after her.
*In the Middle East, the Great Goddess of Ephesus was portrayed as a woman with a fish amulet over her genitals.

The fish symbol:

    "... was so revered throughout the Roman empire that Christian authorities insisted on taking it over, with extensive revision of myths to deny its earlier female-genital meanings...Sometimes the Christ child was portrayed inside the vesica, which was superimposed on Mary's belly and obviously represented her womb, just as in the ancient symbolism of the Goddess." 4 Another author writes: "The fish headdress of the priests of Ea [a Sumero-Semitic God] later became the miter of the Christian bishops." 5

The symbol itself, the eating of fish on Friday and the association of the symbol with deity were all taken over by the early Church from Pagan sources. Only the sexual component was deleted.

The History of the Cross Symbol in Christianity:



Early depictions on Jesus usually showed Jesus in the form of a shepherd carrying a lamb. Tertullian (140-230 CE), a Montanist heretic, commented in his essay De Corona: "At every forward step and movement, at every going in and out, when we put on our our clothes and shoes, when we bathe, when we sit at table, when we light the lamps, on couch, on seat, in all the ordinary actions of daily life, we trace upon the forehead the sign." This might be an early reference to individuals tracing the sign of the cross on their body.

The use of the cross as a symbol was condemned by at least one church father of the 3rd century CE because of its Pagan origins. The first appearance of a cross in Christian art is on a Vatican sarcophagus from the mid-5th Century. 11 It was a Greek cross with equal-length arms. Jesus' body was not shown. The first crucifixion scenes didn't appear in Christian art until the 7th century CE. The original cross symbol was in the form of a Tau Cross. It was so named because it looked like the letter "tau", or our letter "T". One author speculates that the Church may have copied the symbol from the Pagan Druids who made crosses in this form to represent the Thau (god). 7 They joined two limbs from oak trees. The Tau cross became associated with St. Philip who was allegedly crucified on such a cross in Phrygia. May Day, a major Druidic seasonal day of celebration, became St. Philip's Day. Later in Christian history, the Tau Cross became the Roman Cross that we are familiar with today.

The shape of the original crucifixion device is a matter for speculation. Sometimes, the Romans executed people on a Tau cross, sometimes on a Roman cross and sometimes on a simple stake. The gospels, which were originally written in Greek, use the word "stauros" to refer to the execution structure. (see Mark 15:21, Mark 15:32, Matthew 27:32, Luke 23:26, John 19:17). This appears as the word "cross" in all but one of the English versions that we have examined. But in reality, the Greek word usually means a vertical pole without a crossbar. The New World Translation, sponsored by the Watchtower Bible & Tract Society, translates the word as "torture stake." 8 Hermann Fulda, author of "The Cross and Crucifixion" is commented that:

*the description of Jesus' suffering during the last hours of life indicates that he was crucified on a stake rather than a cross.
*that some of the writings of the early church fathers confirms the use of a pole.
*that the very earliest depictions of Jesus' crucifixion in Christian art show him on a stake.

Acts 5:30 refers to "hanging him on a tree." 1 Peter 2:24 says "He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree."

Deuteronomy 21:23 stated that a person hung on a tree was be cursed by God. This verse was a major stumbling block that prevented many Jews from accepting Jesus as the Messiah.

According to author Graydon F. Snyder:

    "[Today's]....universal use of the sign of the cross makes more poignant the striking lack of crosses in early Christian remains, especially any specific reference to the event on Golgotha. Most scholars now agree that the cross as an artistic reference to the passion event cannot be found prior to the time of Constantine."


More on the pre-Christian History of the Cross Symbol:

"From its simplicity of form, the cross has been used both as a religious symbol and as an ornament, from the dawn of man's civilization. Various objects, dating from periods long anterior to the Christian era, have been found, marked with crosses of different designs, in almost every part of the old world." 9 The cross symbol was found in: 10

*Scandinavia: The Tau cross symbolized the hammer of the God Thor.
 
*Babylon: the cross with a crescent moon was the symbol of their moon deity.
 
*Assyria: the corners of the cross represented the four directions in which the sun shines.
 
*India: In Hinduism, the vertical shaft represents the higher, celestial states of being; the horizontal bar represents the lower, earthly states.
 
*Egypt: The ankh cross (a Tau cross topped by an inverted tear shape) is associated with Maat, their Goddess of Truth. It also represents the sexual union of Isis and Osiris.
 
*Europe: The use of a human effigy on a cross in the form of a scarecrow has been used from ancient times. In prehistoric times, a human would be sacrificed and hung on a cross. The sacrifice would later be chopped to pieces; his blood and pieces of flesh were widely distributed and buried to encourage the crop fertility.

References:
http://www.religioustolerance.org/chr_symb.htm
Adequatio intellectus et rei


Mayıs 28, 2013, 09:43:22 ÖS
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True Origin of Christian "FISH" Symbol
Might Outrage, Shock Jesus Worshippers




For many pop-culture Christians, the "fish" decal on the back car bumper, or attached to a key chain or door is a symbol of their religion, and a feel-good statement about Jesus Christ. Early Christians used the fish as a recognition sign of their religion. It is also identified as the "Ichthus," an acronym from the Greek, "Iesous Christos Theou Uios Soter," or "Jesus Christ the Son of God, Saviour." Oxford English Dictionary (C.E.) defines "Ichthyic" as "of, pertaining to, or characteristic of fishes; the fish world in all its orders."

But contemporary Jesus worshippers might be surprised, even outraged, to learn that one of their preeminent religious symbols antedated the Christian religion, and has its roots in pagan fertility awareness and sexuality. Barbara G. Walker writes in "The Woman's Dictionary of Symbols and Sacred Objects," that the acronym pertaining to Jesus Christ was a "rationale invented after the fact... Christians simply copied this pagan symbol along with many others." Ichthys was the offspring son of the ancient Sea goddess Atargatis, and was known in various mythic systems as Tirgata, Aphrodite, Pelagia or Delphine. The word also meant "womb" and "dolphin" in some tongues, and representations of this appeared in the depiction of mermaids. The fish also a central element in other stories, including the Goddess of Ephesus (who has a fish amulet covering her genital region), as well as the tale of the fish that swallowed the penis of Osiris, and was also considered a symbol of the vulva of Isis.

Along with being a generative and reproductive spirit in mythology, the fish also has been identified in certain cultures with reincarnation and the life force. Sir James George Frazer noted in his work, "Adonis, Attis, Osiris: Studies in the History of Oriental Religion" (Part Four of his larger work, "The Golden Bough") that among one group in India, the fish was believed to house a deceased soul, and that as part of a fertility ritual specific fish is eaten in the belief that it will be reincarnated in a newborn child.

Well before Christianity, the fish symbol was known as "the Great Mother," a pointed oval sign, the "vesica piscis" or Vessel of the Fish. "Fish" and "womb" were synonymous terms in ancient Greek,"delphos." Its link to fertility, birth, feminine sexuality and the natural force of women was acknowledged also by the Celts, as well as pagan cultures throughout northern Europe. Eleanor Gaddon traces a "Cult of the Fish Mother" as far back as the hunting and fishing people of the Danube River Basin in the sixth millennium B.C.E. Over fifty shrines have been found throughout the region which depict a fishlike deity, a female creature who "incorporates aspects of an egg, a fish and a woman which could have been a primeval creator or a mythical ancestress..." The "Great Goddess" was portrayed elsewhere with pendulous breasts, accentuated buttocks and a conspicuous vaginal orifice, the upright "vesica piscis" which Christians later adopted and rotated 90-degrees to serve as their symbol.

Along with the fish used as a code sign for early Christian communities, the ichthys also found its way into the ritual and decor of church rites. One case in point is the church mitre worn by prelates. Where did this originate? Dr. Thomas Inman discussed this phenomenon in his two volume opus, "Ancient Faiths Embodied in Ancient Names," (1869). He included a representation of a sculpture from Mesopotamia, observing "It is the impression of an ancient gem, and represents a man clothed with a fish, the head being the mitre; priests thus clothed, often bearing in their hand the mystic bag..."

"In almost every instance," added Inman, "it will be recognized that the fish's head is represented as of the same form as the modern bishop's mitre." The fish also appears in another sacred iconograph, the Avatars of Vishnu, where the deity "is represented as emerging from the mouth of a fish, and being a fish himself; the legend being that he was to be the Saviour of the world in a deluge which was to follow..."

From its focus of worshipping a god-man born of a virgin to the selection of holidays and symbols, Christianity appropriated the metaphors of earlier pagan religions, grafting them into its own account of the creation and beyond. Few Jesus worshippers are aware of this. Even fewer know that when they flaunt the "Ichthus" or Ichthys on a tee-shirt, car bumper or even the door of a state legislative office as a representation which originated in Christianity, they are in fact, displaying a more ancient symbol indicative of female anatomy and reproductive potency -- the very sign of the Great Mother.

Reference:
http://www.godlessgeeks.com/LINKS/fish_symbol.htm
Adequatio intellectus et rei


Mayıs 28, 2013, 11:27:33 ÖS
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Thanks for sharing. Whether my contribution.
related bible verse: As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. "Come, follow me," Jesus said, "and I will make you fishers of men." At once they left their nets and followed him. (Mark 1:16-18).
Fikirlerinizden nefret ediyorum. Ama onları savunabilmeniz için hayatımı feda etmeye hazırım. -Voltaire


 

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