Re: Fish (was Re: Marks)

From: John Hudson (
Date: Sat Sep 29 2007 - 13:52:26 CDT

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    Philippe Verdy wrote:

    > There's some evidence that the Fish symbol used in the first three centuries by Christians was not inspired by any Greek letters, and was not present in Greece where Christianity developed only later, without being threatened by persecution. On the opposite, the fish was used in Egypt, in the Middle-East within Semitic populations, and in Rome, before the official conversion of the Roman Empire to Christianism.

    > Although the Bible was translated to Greek very early, it's highly improbable that Greek was widely used in the early clandestine development of christianism in the Roman Empire. Correct me if I'm wrong, but the association of the fish with the abbreviated Greek name of Jesus Christ (Chi-Rho or Iota-Chi) may have appeared only much later, but the fish symbol was much older.

    Greek was the lingua franca of the entire region you describe, from Rome to Egypt. So even
    if the fish symbol were not used within Greece itself -- about which I have no information
    -- the linguistic association (alongside associations with two of Christ's miracles) would
    have been possible within those wider contexts. Remember that at the time of Christ's
    ministry, even Jewish scripture was known primarily in Greek via the Septuagint.

    Greece was evangelised by the Apostles, not sometime after the first three centuries as
    you suggest. The New Testament was writtin in Greek. Paul's epistles were written to
    churches in Greece or in Greek-speaking communities in Asia Minor. Greece was the language
    of Christian worship for the universal Church until the Romans developed a Latin liturgy
    at a later date.

    The linguistic context of early Christianity is Greek.

    John Hudson

    Tiro Typeworks
    Gulf Islands, BC
    Do not begin to paddle unless you intend always to paddle.
              - St Jean de Br├ębeuf, instructions for missionaries, 1637

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