No-Cross Protocol

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Mike Reed
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Post by Mike Reed »

Sethbag wrote:Thanks, Mike, for saying it better than me. And not only was the Catholic Church the Church of Satan to those of us who'd read some good, old-timey McConkie Doctrine, but all the other churches out there using the cross were an Abomination in the sight of God, as per our very own Joseph Smith's First Vision. Any way you cut it, there was plenty of room in all of that for a couple of 19 or 20 year old, credulous Mormon boys to look upon the cross with suspicion.


Glad to be of service, Sethbag. I appreciate you sharing your experience. It reminds me of the following story that I have come across in the Times and Seasons, April 15, 1845 (asside from the angry violence, of course):

The Cross of Our Savior., Times and Seasons, vol. 6 (January 15, 1845-February, No. 7. Nauvoo, Illinois, April 15, 1845 Whole No. 115., p.874.

As an instance of the peculiar state of feeling which prevails in Philadelphia at the present time, we will relate an incident. On Tuesday, the 18th ult., when the Native procession was passing, an idle lad about our office made a rude cross (+) with a printer's roller on a sheet of printing paper, and hung it out the window.

It had not hung there five minutes, when a scene was enacted which would have done honor to the Turks of Constantinople, the Rioters of Kensington, or the Assassins of Southwark. A mob surrounded our office, hooting like incarnate fiends as they pointed to the cross, and clamoring madly for the destruction of the building in front of which it hung! And this, because an Emblem of the Death and Redemption of the LORD Jesus was hung from the window!

The CROSS, which symbols universal love, became the object of the hatred of a mob, who are ripe for any deed of blood, any act of outrage! And this in Christian Protestant Philadelphia! This is the city founded by William Penn on the principles of universal toleration! The Cross of Jesus is the signal for mob violence, for arson and for murder.

While the clamor was at its highest pitch, a sudden gust of wind tore the paper on which the cross was pasted, from the bricks of the building, and it fell into the hands of the mob. The tore it to fragments, with curses and yells. Ere an instant a hundred hands grasped the symbol of Salvation, and shook its fragments in the air with brutal hurrahs and frenzied yells. They then passed round the corner, brandishing the tokens of their triumph in front of certain offices where are published the SUN and the AMERICAN ADVOCATE.


Symbol of universal love and salvation? Emblem of the Death and Redemption? It is unlikely we'd read such remarks of praise for the symbol in the Church's publications today. Interesting, isn't it?

Richard Dawkins

Post by Richard Dawkins »

Quote:
This entire argument has one very serious weakness, and that is that is assumes Christians must have wanted to wear crosses, use them in artwork and sculpture, and depict it upon gravestones and tombs, but couldn't because of persecution and a need to be inconspicuous as to worship and open display of religious belief.


Nope. Another factor exists: Christians had reservations about depicting sacred images, for fear that they would commit the sin of Idolatry.


This rebuttle involves the same circular reasoning: it assumes first century Christians wanted to wear crosses and use them as physical symbolism and then sets out to discover and document all the hypothetical reasons that they in fact didn't.


Quote:
However, its just as plausible to think that early Christians wouldn't have worn as a symbol the horrendous implement used to crucify their Lord,


I have found no evidence to support this popular LDS assertion. If you have any, please do share. Your reductio absurdem, that the cross symbolizes a mere instrument of torture, is not consistent with their reverence for the manifestation of the cross. Nor is it consistent with early Christian literary imagery.


I'll share it again for you: there is no evidence whatever of the use, and especially the popular, widespread use of the cross for any purpose whatever, until around the fourth century. Those are the historical facts of the matter as the evidence stands.

Quote:
and this is especially true given the clear implication that the Atonement itself was undergone in the Garden of Gethsemane, an occurrence that would be difficult to symbolize in physical form.



Who says that symbols of the atonement must be all-encompassing? This is a silly assumption for you to make, given the symbolic presence of the NAILS (that crucified Jesus) in the LDS temple ceremony.



Nonetheless, without literary or documented evidence of a particular reverence for the cross itself in either the first century or most of the second, you are arguing to the wind.


Also...
"Clear implication that the atonement itself was undergone in the Garden"? Where???

I agree that it would have been difficult for Christians to come up with a material image to remind them of the Garden of Gethsemane. Literary imagery, on the other hand, wouldn't have been so difficult. Nor would it have been difficult for Christians to look for the manifestation of the Garden of Gethsemane. The absence of such imagery in Early Christian literature, therefore, seems to undermine your rationale.


Or it undermines yours, as perhaps they weren't looking of any such imagery at all.



Quote:
Futher, its also the case that the use of the cross as physical adornment or as an iconic symbol used in art or as funerary symbolism doesn't show up prior to the great Christian persecutions any more than it shows up during them, and its largely absent from the 3rd century, well after Constantine had put an end to such persecution. Whence the cross then? It begins showing up as an item of personal adornment in the 4th century, and thereafter, it proliferates gradually, in art and other venues. The crucifix appears much later. In other words, the cross as a physical symbol, used iconically and as a personal symbol for individual Christians only becomes prevalent well after the time of the Apostles and well into the eras of substantial Hellenization and paganization the church underwent during the second, third, and fourth centuries.



And your point? You are ignoring the most significant factor that I presented, #3.
The reasons Christians were reluctant to display the cross were:
1) To avoid persecution. They often worshipped inconspicuously.
2) It wasn't an effective missionary tool, being that they were ridiculed over the fact that Jesus died.
3) (and perhaps most significantly) Many Christians believed it a sin to materially depict a religious image.



Your affection for tautology has become rather conspicuous at this point. Assuming each and every one of these to be correct, you have still never so much as approached the question your arguments are supposed to be grappling with: did early Christians wear and venerate the cross? Your approach continues to assume that they did, based upon a series of plausible but historically unsupported social conditions that might very well have mitigated any such desire but may very well have had no effect on such if no such desire existed in the first place, and you have not as yet provided a cogent argument of historical evidence to the effect that such a desire or tradition existed much before the third century.


Do you remember the Iconoclastic actions of Jerome that I cited? Jerome reports that he visited a Christian church, where he saw a veil that had a depiction of Jesus or a disciple on it, and that upon seeing it, he tore it down and replaced it with a plain veil. This occasion shows that even after the Milvian Bridge, there remained disagreement among some Christians over God’s second commandment:


You are still begging the same questions here. Adding more and more examples does nothing to ensure further certitude. The fact still remains that the popularity of the cross as a Christian symbol appears in the fourth century, well after Christen persecution was a dim memory.

Quote:
The wearing of the cross, like the use of sprinkling in baptism, is a post Nicean accretion.


Your assumption that only one mode of baptism existed in Christianity prior to Constantine is naïve. Have you read the Didache?


Yes, doubtless more times than you have, and while the Didache is a very valuable document, and highly prized among second century Christians. The reference to baptism here may or may not be an original part of the document.

Here's what Crossen, in The Birth of Christianity says:

. . . the Didache may derive from a rural rather than an urban situation. It may stem from the consensus of rural households rather than the authority of urban patrons. Willy Rordorf and Andre Tullier, writing in a major French series, located the Didache in northern Palestine or western Syria, but not in the capital city of Antioch. They noted that the text is addressed to "rural communities of converted pagans" (98). It "reveals a Christianity established in rural communities who have broken with the radicalism of earlier converts" (100). It "speaks principally to rural milieus converted early on in Syria and Palestine and no doubt furnishing the first Christian communities outside of cities" (128). Kurt Niederwimmer, however, writing in a major German series, considered it still possible that "the Didache could derive from an urban milieu," but he agreed that it was not from the great metropolis of Antioch (80). It is not enough, in any case, simply to note the mention of "firstfruits" in Didache 13:3-7, since that could indicate urban-based landowners. My own preference for a rural over an urban setting comes not from those few verses but from the Didache's rhetorical serenity, ungendered equality, and striking difference from so many other early Christian texts.


Here is what John S. Kloppenborg Verbin has to say on the subject of the sturcture of the document.

The Didache, an early second-century Christian composition, is also clearly composite, consisting of a "Two Ways" section (chaps. 1-6), a liturgical manual (7-10), instructions on the reception of traveling prophets (11-15), and a brief apocalypse (16). Marked divergences in style and content as well as the presence of doublets and obvious interpolations make plain the fact that the Didache was not cut from whole cloth. The dominant view today is that the document was composed on the basis of several independent, preredactional units which were assembled by either one or two redactors (Neiderwimmer 1989:64-70, ET 1998:42-52). Comparison of the "Two Ways" section with several other "Two Ways" documents suggests that Didache 1-6 is itself the result of multistage editing. The document began with rather haphazard organization (cf. Barnabas 18-20), but was reorganized in a source common to the Didache, the Doctrina apostolorum, and the Apostolic Church Order and supplemented by a sapiental meditation on minor and major transgressions (3.1-6) (Kloppenborg 1995c). In addition to this "Two Ways" section it is also possible to discern the presence of a mini-apocalypse related to someo f the materials that eventually found their way into Matthew 24-25 (Excavating Q, pp. 134-135)


Although numerous vestiges of the original Apostolic church existed into the second century, by the time The Didache had been composed in the early second century, significant changes had already taken place, as this document mention of sprinkling makes clear. There is no biblical warrant for it at all in the New Testament, so we are left to understand that, in an era when everyone was claiming to be "orthodox" and claiming to have the forty day teachings, a variation like this isn't at all surprising


Quote:
This argument has nothing, it should be said, to do with the literary or metaphoric use of the cross in the New Testament as a symbol of the culmination of his mission on earth, in which it played an important if terrible role. No one is claiming that it has no symbolic value to ancient Christians. It certainly did. What the historical record tells us, however, is that its use as a personal symbol of Christian fellowship, and later, as a charm, ward, or amulet somehow channeling divine power (and hence the cross's power over the vampire), is a very late invention and one, indeed, derived not from apostolic teaching or tradition but, as with so many other modifications, from the general Pagan world around the post apostolic church.

It should also be pointed out again, that the fish symbol was used as late as the early 1st century as a Christian symbol, and has been found on some Christians gravestones or tomb inscriptions. Did the Romans not understand that this was a Christian symbol, and would its use in the late 1st century not have drawn the same unwanted attention as if they had used the cross on the same tombs or gravestones?



Like the cross, the fish was a symbol embraced by pagans too... but Christians weren't mocked for their teaching that Jesus was a fisher of men, as they were mocked about Jesus dieing a criminal's death (consider the Alexamenos Graffito, for example). And had you done some research on the Christian history of the fish symbol, you would have learned that the fish was in fact used as a kind of CRYPTIC PASSWORD TO AVOID PERSECUTION. So no... the fish wouldn't have "drawn the same unwanted attention."


You are still left with not a shred of evidence supporting an assertion that early, first century or second century Christians for that matter, would have used the cross in the way later early medieval Christians did had they been utterly at liberty to do so. The LDS position on the cross is really very simple: it was the instrument of Christs torturous and agonizing death. We worship a living Christ, and therefore, memorializing that instrument is of little value for us. As far as visual reminders of him, many LDS, like myself, have pictures in our homes of him, but no crosses. He is risen, not dead, so we do not hold sacred the physical means of his death, even given the pivitol role it played in the entire Gospel drama, as to the final prophesied culmination of his ministry.

The best you can do here is show that the fish was used in lieu of...what? The cross? No evidence. It would be equally as likely for ancient Christians to have carved religiously inspired poetry or scriptural references on gravestones or tombs, as modern Christians do today. The fish would have been a ready alternative to that. Again, we see the popular use of the cross, and later the crucifix, appearing on the scene in the fourth and fifth centuries, not the first or second and barely in the third.

Richard Dawkins

Post by Richard Dawkins »

I just had to step in for Coggins here because he's had a very hard day reinstalling everything on his computer and wasn't feeling up to dealing with the very uninformed and misguided arguments being bandied about here by people who should know better.

Or should they?

RD

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Post by Coggins7 »

Thanks Dick, I really appreciate the assistance. By the way, do you have that ten dollars you borrowed last week yet? I'm running low on rootbeer and cough drops. Thanks.

Loran

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Post by Fortigurn »

Cogs, you really need to take better care handling your sock puppet and your real profile.
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Post by Coggins7 »

Fort, have to ever been in a Turkish prison?

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Post by Fortigurn »

Coggins7 wrote:Fort, have to ever been in a Turkish prison?


No, have you ever had a spoonburger?
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Mike Reed
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Post by Mike Reed »

Richard Dawkins wrote:This rebuttle involves the same circular reasoning: it assumes first century Christians wanted to wear crosses and use them as physical symbolism and then sets out to discover and document all the hypothetical reasons that they in fact didn't.


Err… my rebuttal assumes that Christians wanted to wear crosses, and gives the reasons why they didn’t want to wear crosses? <chuckle> Nice try to create a circularity where one does not exist. My position, rather, acknowledges that early Christians had reservations about depicting crosses materially, explains what those reservations were, shows that they do not mirror the rationale behind the LDS no-cross protocol, and argues that LDS apologists should therefore not use the early Christian non-use as a justification for their aversion to the cross. Literary evidence indicates that although Christians did not materially depict the cross, the visual symbol was extremely sacred to them. Unlike the LDS Church, they revered it and looked for its manifestation around them.

Also… you need to understand that your justification for one area condemns you in other areas. For example, the Mormon custom of placing a depiction of an angel on their religious architecture would have been unacceptable for early Christians.


I wrote: I have found no evidence to support this popular LDS assertion. If you have any, please do share. Your reductio absurdem, that the cross symbolizes a mere instrument of torture, is not consistent with their reverence for the manifestation of the cross. Nor is it consistent with early Christian literary imagery.

Coggins7 (AKA Richard Dawkins) responds: I'll share it again for you: there is no evidence whatever of the use, and especially the popular, widespread use of the cross for any purpose whatever, until around the fourth century. Those are the historical facts of the matter as the evidence stands.


I asked for evidence to substantiate your assumption that the absence of the Cross was due to an abhorrence of the instrument that killed Jesus… and you cite the absence. What were you saying about circularity? <chuckle>

Nonetheless, without literary or documented evidence of a particular reverence for the cross itself in either the first century or most of the second, you are arguing to the wind.


Are you reading my posts?????

The Cross Made Manifest
Christians, rather than depicting sacred and spiritual realities materially, observed their natural occurrence. They looked for their natural manifestations around them. Such mystical observation was sought out for the cross, as noted by Minucius Felix. He states that although they do not outwardly use the physical image of the cross (“we [Christians] neither worship nor wish for [the cross]”), they brought it to mind when they saw its resemblance in other things:

“We assuredly see the sign of a cross, naturally, in the ship when it is carried along with swelling sails, when it glides forward with expanded oars; and when the military yoke is lifted up, it is the sign of a cross; and when a man adores God with a pure mind, with hands outstretched. Thus the sign of the cross either is sustained by a natural reason, or your own religion is formed with respect to it.” (19)

Consistent with the views of Clement, Minucius explains how Christians look for the manifestation of the cross, rather than (like pagans) create the outward image of it.

It is clear that many Christians refrained from using images that derived from an improper process of unnaturally manipulating dead matter, which would have (according to Clement and other Christians) dishonored nature and God, and broken the second commandment. Christians were not creating a religious symbol for the sake of its religious significance. Rather, the images they viewed were mere natural manifestations of spiritual realities, perceived by the mind.

This mystical viewing was a popular trend among early Christians. Jerome discovered the manifestation of the cross in a swimming man, flying bird, and a man praying with extended arms. (20) Justin Martyr proclaims that a ship’s sail, a plough, the banners and trophies of the government, and the human form (body posture, and profile of face head) each manifest “no other form than that of the cross.” (21) Tertullian speaks of the cross being manifested in the human posture, and by “Every piece of timber which is fixed in the ground in an erect position.” (22)

Christians similarly looked for hidden manifestation of the cross throughout the Old Testament. (23) Tertullian observes the way that Moses, “at the time when Joshua was battling against Amalek, pray[ed] sitting with hands expanded…,” and in the brazen serpent that Moses hung on a tree, in order to heal Israel. “[H]e was exhibiting the Lord's cross,” concludes Tertullian. (24)

The Epistle of Barnabas finds a manifestation of the crucifixion in the number of men that Abraham circumcised in his household:

“For [the Scripture] saith, ‘And Abraham circumcised ten, and eight, and three hundred men of his household.’ What, then, was the knowledge given to him in this? Learn the eighteen first, and then the three hundred. The ten and the eight are thus denoted — Ten by I, and Eight by H. You have [the initials of the, name of] Jesus. And because the cross was to express the grace [of our redemption] by the letter T, he says also, ‘Three Hundred.’ He signifies, therefore, Jesus by two letters, and the cross by one. He knows this, who has put within us the engrafted gift of His doctrine. No one has been admitted by me to a more excellent piece of knowledge than this, but I know that ye are worthy.” (25)

The Tau (T or +)(26) is the last Letter of the Greek alphabet, and has the numeric value of 300. Christians believed that the tau was equivalent to the Hebrew letter omega (being the last letter of the Hebrew alphabet, and name of God), and manifested the image of the cross in its form. Such symbolism was also found manifest in the proportions of Noah’s ark: “Now there are some who say that three hundred cubits are the symbol of the Lord's sign,” reports Clement of Alexandria. (27)

The mystical search and observation of the cross, allowed Christians to embrace the symbol without depicting it materially (breaking the second commandment) or drawing the attention of their persecutors. Christians also got around these obstacles by tracing the “Lord’s sign,”(T or +, which revealed the cross) upon their foreheads. Tertullian records:

“We feel pained should any wine or bread, even though our own, be cast upon the ground. At every forward step and movement, at every going in and out, when we put on 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.” (28)

The Christian act of tracing the sign was in fact a reenactment of God’s command in Ezekiel 9:4. Tertullian explains this elsewhere:

“He [Christ] signed them with that very seal of which Ezekiel spake: "The Lord said unto me, Go through the gate, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set the mark Tau upon the foreheads of the men." Now the Greek letter Tau and our own letter T is the very form of the cross, which He predicted would be the sign on our foreheads in the true Catholic Jerusalem… Now, inasmuch as all these things are also found amongst you, and the sign upon the forehead, and the sacraments of the church, and the offerings of the pure sacrifice, you ought now to burst forth, and declare that the Spirit of the Creator prophesied of your Christ.” (29)

Tracing the cross (tau) upon their forehead was not in conflict with the second commandment, since doing so did not manipulate dead matter. Nor did the private action draw the attention of critics, since the symbol was traced invisibly. By tracing the sign, rather than drawing it visibly Christians were able to worship inconspicuously, and get their reservations for depicting the cross materially.

Conclusion
In conclusion, I repeat that the absence of the image of the cross in Christian artwork, was due to three significant reasons. 1) Christians desired to worship inconspicuously. 2) The image was a stumbling block to Jews and Gentiles, and therefore was not used as an emblem for attracting converts. 3) Christians had reservations about depicting the cross materially, bearing that they would commit the sin of Idolatry.

One should not conclude from this absence that the visual sign of the cross wasn’t therefore sacred to Christians. Though they had reservations about creating material depictions of the cross, many of them got around those reservations by looking for its mystical manifestation, and tracing it upon their foreheads.


19 Minucius Felix, The Octavius of the Octavius of, ch 29; as found in software The Complete Christian Collection (Packard Technologies, 1999).
20 Adam Clarke, Clarke’s Commentary on the Bible (vol 5), The Gospel According to Matthew, 27:35.
21 First Apology of Justin, ch 55.
22 AD Nationes, book 1, ch 12.
23 Hippolytus and Clement see the image and message of the cross in the Greco-Roman Myth, when the Ulyssies is tied to the mast of the ship (Cross of Christ), that he may not give way to the voice of the sirens. The Refutation of all Heresies, book 7; Exhortation to the Heather, ch 12.
24 Tertullian, Answers to the Jews, ch 10.
25 Epistle of Barnabas, ch 9; see also Clement of Alexandria, The Stroma, book 6, ch 11.
26 “St. Jerome and many others have thought that the letter tau was that which was ordered to be placed on the foreheads of those mourners; and Jerome says, that this Hebrew letter t tau was formerly written like a cross. So then the people were to be signed with the sign of the cross! It is certain that on the ancient Samaritan coins, which are yet extant, the letter t tau is in the form +, which is what we term St. Andrew’s cross.” Clarke’s Commentary, volume 4, chapter 9, verse 4.
27 The Stroma, book 6, ch 11.
28 The Chaplet, or De Corona, ch 3.
29 The Five Books Against Macrion, book 3, ch 22; see also Tertullian, Answer to the Jews, ch 11.

I wrote: Also... "Clear implication that the atonement itself was undergone in the Garden"? Where??? I agree that it would have been difficult for Christians to come up with a material image to remind them of the Garden of Gethsemane. Literary imagery, on the other hand, wouldn't have been so difficult. Nor would it have been difficult for Christians to look for the manifestation of the Garden of Gethsemane. The absence of such imagery in Early Christian literature, therefore, seems to undermine your rationale.

Coggins7 responds: Or it undermines yours, as perhaps they weren't looking of any such imagery at all.


Read my repost above and explain more clearly what you are saying here. I am not following you.

Your affection for tautology has become rather conspicuous at this point. Assuming each and every one of these to be correct, you have still never so much as approached the question your arguments are supposed to be grappling with: did early Christians wear and venerate the cross? Your approach continues to assume that they did,


What the?... My approach assumes that early Christians wore the cross? Where in the HELL did you get that idea from? Did they venerate the cross? By the evidence that I cited above… yes. There is no assumption here. The evidence speaks for itself.

based upon a series of plausible but historically unsupported social conditions that might very well have mitigated any such desire but may very well have had no effect on such if no such desire existed in the first place, and you have not as yet provided a cogent argument of historical evidence to the effect that such a desire or tradition existed much before the third century.


Drop the lance Quixote, and leave that poor windmill alone!

I wrote: Do you remember the Iconoclastic actions of Jerome that I cited? Jerome reports that he visited a Christian church, where he saw a veil that had a depiction of Jesus or a disciple on it, and that upon seeing it, he tore it down and replaced it with a plain veil. This occasion shows that even after the Milvian Bridge, there remained disagreement among some Christians over God’s second commandment.

Coggins7 responded: You are still begging the same questions here. Adding more and more examples does nothing to ensure further certitude. The fact still remains that the popularity of the cross as a Christian symbol appears in the fourth century, well after Christen persecution was a dim memory.


You are arguing out of context. (Soft musical intro… To Dream… the Impossible Dream… To Fight… the Unbeatable Foe…)

I wrote: Your assumption that only one mode of baptism existed in Christianity prior to Constantine is naïve. Have you read the Didache?

Coggins7: Yes, doubtless more times than you have…. this document mention of sprinkling makes clear….


LOL! The document DOESN’T mention sprinkling. Had you been truly familiar with this text, you would have known this.

Coggins7: and while the Didache is a very valuable document, and highly prized among second century Christians. The reference to baptism here may or may not be an original part of the document.


Whether it was from the original document is irrelevant to me, so long as it was a CHRISTIAN who made the interpolation/redaction.

Here's what Crossen, in The Birth of Christianity says:

. . . the Didache may derive from a rural rather than an urban situation. It may stem from the consensus of rural households rather than the authority of urban patrons. Willy Rordorf and Andre Tullier, writing in a major French series, located the Didache in northern Palestine or western Syria, but not in the capital city of Antioch. They noted that the text is addressed to "rural communities of converted pagans" (98). It "reveals a Christianity established in rural communities who have broken with the radicalism of earlier converts" (100). It "speaks principally to rural milieus converted early on in Syria and Palestine and no doubt furnishing the first Christian communities outside of cities" (128). Kurt Niederwimmer, however, writing in a major German series, considered it still possible that "the Didache could derive from an urban milieu," but he agreed that it was not from the great metropolis of Antioch (80). It is not enough, in any case, simply to note the mention of "firstfruits" in Didache 13:3-7, since that could indicate urban-based landowners. My own preference for a rural over an urban setting comes not from those few verses but from the Didache's rhetorical serenity, ungendered equality, and striking difference from so many other early Christian texts.


Here is what John S. Kloppenborg Verbin has to say on the subject of the sturcture of the document.

The Didache, an early second-century Christian composition, is also clearly composite, consisting of a "Two Ways" section (chaps. 1-6), a liturgical manual (7-10), instructions on the reception of traveling prophets (11-15), and a brief apocalypse (16). Marked divergences in style and content as well as the presence of doublets and obvious interpolations make plain the fact that the Didache was not cut from whole cloth. The dominant view today is that the document was composed on the basis of several independent, preredactional units which were assembled by either one or two redactors (Neiderwimmer 1989:64-70, ET 1998:42-52). Comparison of the "Two Ways" section with several other "Two Ways" documents suggests that Didache 1-6 is itself the result of multistage editing. The document began with rather haphazard organization (cf. Barnabas 18-20), but was reorganized in a source common to the Didache, the Doctrina apostolorum, and the Apostolic Church Order and supplemented by a sapiental meditation on minor and major transgressions (3.1-6) (Kloppenborg 1995c). In addition to this "Two Ways" section it is also possible to discern the presence of a mini-apocalypse related to someo f the materials that eventually found their way into Matthew 24-25 (Excavating Q, pp. 134-135)


Based on these quotes… what leads you to believe that the chapter 7 (which gives the instruction on baptism) isn’t Anti-Nicene Christian? These quotes give no information about chapter 7, other than that it is identified as a liturgical manual. Mormon Apologist Barry Bickmore certainly does not argue that the instruction is post-nicene:

The rite of baptism began to be perverted early on. Even in the first century certain communities had adopted the practice of pouring, but only when it was not possible to find enough water to immerse in. The Didache , which probably originated in Syria, suggests that one should be baptized in running water, but if none can be found, in still. Also, cold water is preferred over hot. ‘But if thou have not either, pour out water thrice upon the head into the name of Father and Son and Holy Spirit.’15 Perhaps in certain desert communities this eventuality was sometimes faced, and in time it became the practice of the Church in general to sprinkle or pour, especially when infants were baptized.” http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Parthen ... 0Immersion

You should also consider the Anti-Nicene Epistle of Cyprian, which states, "In the case of illness, one was baptized by pouring." (LXXIII: I)

Although numerous vestiges of the original Apostolic church existed into the second century, by the time The Didache had been composed in the early second century, significant changes had already taken place….


Irrelevant. Even if what you say is true, the document would still be ANTI-Nicene Christian.

There is no biblical warrant for it at all in the New Testament…


So what? You seem to think that I am making a claim for orthodoxy. <chuckle> I am agnostic. by the way… you are aware that the canonization of your volume of scripture is Anti-Nicene, aren’t you?

so we are left to understand that, in an era when everyone was claiming to be "orthodox" and claiming to have the forty day teachings, a variation like this isn't at all surprising.


You are arguing out of context.

You are still left with not a shred of evidence supporting an assertion that early, first century or second century Christians for that matter, would have used the cross in the way later early medieval Christians did had they been utterly at liberty to do so.


Why must I provide this evidence, if this is not the argument that I am making. See above.

The LDS position on the cross is really very simple: it was the instrument of Christs torturous and agonizing death. We worship a living Christ, and therefore, memorializing that instrument is of little value for us. As far as visual reminders of him, many LDS, like myself, have pictures in our homes of him, but no crosses. He is risen, not dead, so we do not hold sacred the physical means of his death, even given the pivitol role it played in the entire Gospel drama, as to the final prophesied culmination of his ministry.


Yes. I understand that this is why many Latter-day Saints abhor the symbol. The million dollar questions for YOU, however, are: Can you find this same rationale being promoted by Early Christians? Why the sign of the nail in your temple ceremony, if the instruments that killed Jesus are so abhorrent?

The best you can do here is show that the fish was used in lieu of...what? The cross? No evidence.


I never argued this. Drop the lance.

It would be equally as likely for ancient Christians to have carved religiously inspired poetry or scriptural references on gravestones or tombs, as modern Christians do today. The fish would have been a ready alternative to that. Again, we see the popular use of the cross, and later the crucifix, appearing on the scene in the fourth and fifth centuries, not the first or second and barely in the third.


Sigh…

See above.

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Post by Inconceivable »

Gazelam wrote:When I was eight I got a blue clear plastic rosary with a fancy metal crucifix attached to it with various metal beads along the strand. I tohught it was pretty cool and brought it home. That was when I was informed that we don't carry around crosses, and that I should just throw it away. There was no freaking out, just the explanation that as Mormons we celebrate the ressurection, not the death of Christ.

I have no problem with crosses myself. I wouldent hang a cricifix on my wall or wear a cross necklace, but I think that they are merely a showing a statement of their faith.

Freaking out about it is just silly. Its like not letting your kids play with a friend because their parents drink.



Gazelam, you're funny. The freaking would have become evident if you had said "no mom".

I don't have a problem with the cross either, anymore.



Coggins,

I'm still a little new here. I really can't tell from your posts: Are you attempting to defend the Mormon church or destroy it?

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guy sajer
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Post by guy sajer »

Mike Reed wrote:
Richard Dawkins wrote:This rebuttle involves the same circular reasoning: it assumes first century Christians wanted to wear crosses and use them as physical symbolism and then sets out to discover and document all the hypothetical reasons that they in fact didn't.


Err… my rebuttal assumes that Christians wanted to wear crosses, and gives the reasons why they didn’t want to wear crosses? <chuckle> Nice try to create a circularity where one does not exist. My position, rather, acknowledges that early Christians had reservations about depicting crosses materially, explains what those reservations were, shows that they do not mirror the rationale behind the LDS no-cross protocol, and argues that LDS apologists should therefore not use the early Christian non-use as a justification for their aversion to the cross. Literary evidence indicates that although Christians did not materially depict the cross, the visual symbol was extremely sacred to them. Unlike the LDS Church, they revered it and looked for its manifestation around them.

Also… you need to understand that your justification for one area condemns you in other areas. For example, the Mormon custom of placing a depiction of an angel on their religious architecture would have been unacceptable for early Christians.


I wrote: I have found no evidence to support this popular LDS assertion. If you have any, please do share. Your reductio absurdem, that the cross symbolizes a mere instrument of torture, is not consistent with their reverence for the manifestation of the cross. Nor is it consistent with early Christian literary imagery.

Coggins7 (AKA Richard Dawkins) responds: I'll share it again for you: there is no evidence whatever of the use, and especially the popular, widespread use of the cross for any purpose whatever, until around the fourth century. Those are the historical facts of the matter as the evidence stands.


I asked for evidence to substantiate your assumption that the absence of the Cross was due to an abhorrence of the instrument that killed Jesus… and you cite the absence. What were you saying about circularity? <chuckle>

Nonetheless, without literary or documented evidence of a particular reverence for the cross itself in either the first century or most of the second, you are arguing to the wind.


Are you reading my posts?????

The Cross Made Manifest
Christians, rather than depicting sacred and spiritual realities materially, observed their natural occurrence. They looked for their natural manifestations around them. Such mystical observation was sought out for the cross, as noted by Minucius Felix. He states that although they do not outwardly use the physical image of the cross (“we [Christians] neither worship nor wish for [the cross]”), they brought it to mind when they saw its resemblance in other things:

“We assuredly see the sign of a cross, naturally, in the ship when it is carried along with swelling sails, when it glides forward with expanded oars; and when the military yoke is lifted up, it is the sign of a cross; and when a man adores God with a pure mind, with hands outstretched. Thus the sign of the cross either is sustained by a natural reason, or your own religion is formed with respect to it.” (19)

Consistent with the views of Clement, Minucius explains how Christians look for the manifestation of the cross, rather than (like pagans) create the outward image of it.

It is clear that many Christians refrained from using images that derived from an improper process of unnaturally manipulating dead matter, which would have (according to Clement and other Christians) dishonored nature and God, and broken the second commandment. Christians were not creating a religious symbol for the sake of its religious significance. Rather, the images they viewed were mere natural manifestations of spiritual realities, perceived by the mind.

This mystical viewing was a popular trend among early Christians. Jerome discovered the manifestation of the cross in a swimming man, flying bird, and a man praying with extended arms. (20) Justin Martyr proclaims that a ship’s sail, a plough, the banners and trophies of the government, and the human form (body posture, and profile of face head) each manifest “no other form than that of the cross.” (21) Tertullian speaks of the cross being manifested in the human posture, and by “Every piece of timber which is fixed in the ground in an erect position.” (22)

Christians similarly looked for hidden manifestation of the cross throughout the Old Testament. (23) Tertullian observes the way that Moses, “at the time when Joshua was battling against Amalek, pray[ed] sitting with hands expanded…,” and in the brazen serpent that Moses hung on a tree, in order to heal Israel. “[H]e was exhibiting the Lord's cross,” concludes Tertullian. (24)

The Epistle of Barnabas finds a manifestation of the crucifixion in the number of men that Abraham circumcised in his household:

“For [the Scripture] saith, ‘And Abraham circumcised ten, and eight, and three hundred men of his household.’ What, then, was the knowledge given to him in this? Learn the eighteen first, and then the three hundred. The ten and the eight are thus denoted — Ten by I, and Eight by H. You have [the initials of the, name of] Jesus. And because the cross was to express the grace [of our redemption] by the letter T, he says also, ‘Three Hundred.’ He signifies, therefore, Jesus by two letters, and the cross by one. He knows this, who has put within us the engrafted gift of His doctrine. No one has been admitted by me to a more excellent piece of knowledge than this, but I know that ye are worthy.” (25)

The Tau (T or +)(26) is the last Letter of the Greek alphabet, and has the numeric value of 300. Christians believed that the tau was equivalent to the Hebrew letter omega (being the last letter of the Hebrew alphabet, and name of God), and manifested the image of the cross in its form. Such symbolism was also found manifest in the proportions of Noah’s ark: “Now there are some who say that three hundred cubits are the symbol of the Lord's sign,” reports Clement of Alexandria. (27)

The mystical search and observation of the cross, allowed Christians to embrace the symbol without depicting it materially (breaking the second commandment) or drawing the attention of their persecutors. Christians also got around these obstacles by tracing the “Lord’s sign,”(T or +, which revealed the cross) upon their foreheads. Tertullian records:

“We feel pained should any wine or bread, even though our own, be cast upon the ground. At every forward step and movement, at every going in and out, when we put on 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.” (28)

The Christian act of tracing the sign was in fact a reenactment of God’s command in Ezekiel 9:4. Tertullian explains this elsewhere:

“He [Christ] signed them with that very seal of which Ezekiel spake: "The Lord said unto me, Go through the gate, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set the mark Tau upon the foreheads of the men." Now the Greek letter Tau and our own letter T is the very form of the cross, which He predicted would be the sign on our foreheads in the true Catholic Jerusalem… Now, inasmuch as all these things are also found amongst you, and the sign upon the forehead, and the sacraments of the church, and the offerings of the pure sacrifice, you ought now to burst forth, and declare that the Spirit of the Creator prophesied of your Christ.” (29)

Tracing the cross (tau) upon their forehead was not in conflict with the second commandment, since doing so did not manipulate dead matter. Nor did the private action draw the attention of critics, since the symbol was traced invisibly. By tracing the sign, rather than drawing it visibly Christians were able to worship inconspicuously, and get their reservations for depicting the cross materially.

Conclusion
In conclusion, I repeat that the absence of the image of the cross in Christian artwork, was due to three significant reasons. 1) Christians desired to worship inconspicuously. 2) The image was a stumbling block to Jews and Gentiles, and therefore was not used as an emblem for attracting converts. 3) Christians had reservations about depicting the cross materially, bearing that they would commit the sin of Idolatry.

One should not conclude from this absence that the visual sign of the cross wasn’t therefore sacred to Christians. Though they had reservations about creating material depictions of the cross, many of them got around those reservations by looking for its mystical manifestation, and tracing it upon their foreheads.


19 Minucius Felix, The Octavius of the Octavius of, ch 29; as found in software The Complete Christian Collection (Packard Technologies, 1999).
20 Adam Clarke, Clarke’s Commentary on the Bible (vol 5), The Gospel According to Matthew, 27:35.
21 First Apology of Justin, ch 55.
22 AD Nationes, book 1, ch 12.
23 Hippolytus and Clement see the image and message of the cross in the Greco-Roman Myth, when the Ulyssies is tied to the mast of the ship (Cross of Christ), that he may not give way to the voice of the sirens. The Refutation of all Heresies, book 7; Exhortation to the Heather, ch 12.
24 Tertullian, Answers to the Jews, ch 10.
25 Epistle of Barnabas, ch 9; see also Clement of Alexandria, The Stroma, book 6, ch 11.
26 “St. Jerome and many others have thought that the letter tau was that which was ordered to be placed on the foreheads of those mourners; and Jerome says, that this Hebrew letter t tau was formerly written like a cross. So then the people were to be signed with the sign of the cross! It is certain that on the ancient Samaritan coins, which are yet extant, the letter t tau is in the form +, which is what we term St. Andrew’s cross.” Clarke’s Commentary, volume 4, chapter 9, verse 4.
27 The Stroma, book 6, ch 11.
28 The Chaplet, or De Corona, ch 3.
29 The Five Books Against Macrion, book 3, ch 22; see also Tertullian, Answer to the Jews, ch 11.

I wrote: Also... "Clear implication that the atonement itself was undergone in the Garden"? Where??? I agree that it would have been difficult for Christians to come up with a material image to remind them of the Garden of Gethsemane. Literary imagery, on the other hand, wouldn't have been so difficult. Nor would it have been difficult for Christians to look for the manifestation of the Garden of Gethsemane. The absence of such imagery in Early Christian literature, therefore, seems to undermine your rationale.

Coggins7 responds: Or it undermines yours, as perhaps they weren't looking of any such imagery at all.


Read my repost above and explain more clearly what you are saying here. I am not following you.

Your affection for tautology has become rather conspicuous at this point. Assuming each and every one of these to be correct, you have still never so much as approached the question your arguments are supposed to be grappling with: did early Christians wear and venerate the cross? Your approach continues to assume that they did,


What the?... My approach assumes that early Christians wore the cross? Where in the HELL did you get that idea from? Did they venerate the cross? By the evidence that I cited above… yes. There is no assumption here. The evidence speaks for itself.

based upon a series of plausible but historically unsupported social conditions that might very well have mitigated any such desire but may very well have had no effect on such if no such desire existed in the first place, and you have not as yet provided a cogent argument of historical evidence to the effect that such a desire or tradition existed much before the third century.


Drop the lance Quixote, and leave that poor windmill alone!

I wrote: Do you remember the Iconoclastic actions of Jerome that I cited? Jerome reports that he visited a Christian church, where he saw a veil that had a depiction of Jesus or a disciple on it, and that upon seeing it, he tore it down and replaced it with a plain veil. This occasion shows that even after the Milvian Bridge, there remained disagreement among some Christians over God’s second commandment.

Coggins7 responded: You are still begging the same questions here. Adding more and more examples does nothing to ensure further certitude. The fact still remains that the popularity of the cross as a Christian symbol appears in the fourth century, well after Christen persecution was a dim memory.


You are arguing out of context. (Soft musical intro… To Dream… the Impossible Dream… To Fight… the Unbeatable Foe…)

I wrote: Your assumption that only one mode of baptism existed in Christianity prior to Constantine is naïve. Have you read the Didache?

Coggins7: Yes, doubtless more times than you have…. this document mention of sprinkling makes clear….


LOL! The document DOESN’T mention sprinkling. Had you been truly familiar with this text, you would have known this.

Coggins7: and while the Didache is a very valuable document, and highly prized among second century Christians. The reference to baptism here may or may not be an original part of the document.


Whether it was from the original document is irrelevant to me, so long as it was a CHRISTIAN who made the interpolation/redaction.

Here's what Crossen, in The Birth of Christianity says:

. . . the Didache may derive from a rural rather than an urban situation. It may stem from the consensus of rural households rather than the authority of urban patrons. Willy Rordorf and Andre Tullier, writing in a major French series, located the Didache in northern Palestine or western Syria, but not in the capital city of Antioch. They noted that the text is addressed to "rural communities of converted pagans" (98). It "reveals a Christianity established in rural communities who have broken with the radicalism of earlier converts" (100). It "speaks principally to rural milieus converted early on in Syria and Palestine and no doubt furnishing the first Christian communities outside of cities" (128). Kurt Niederwimmer, however, writing in a major German series, considered it still possible that "the Didache could derive from an urban milieu," but he agreed that it was not from the great metropolis of Antioch (80). It is not enough, in any case, simply to note the mention of "firstfruits" in Didache 13:3-7, since that could indicate urban-based landowners. My own preference for a rural over an urban setting comes not from those few verses but from the Didache's rhetorical serenity, ungendered equality, and striking difference from so many other early Christian texts.


Here is what John S. Kloppenborg Verbin has to say on the subject of the sturcture of the document.

The Didache, an early second-century Christian composition, is also clearly composite, consisting of a "Two Ways" section (chaps. 1-6), a liturgical manual (7-10), instructions on the reception of traveling prophets (11-15), and a brief apocalypse (16). Marked divergences in style and content as well as the presence of doublets and obvious interpolations make plain the fact that the Didache was not cut from whole cloth. The dominant view today is that the document was composed on the basis of several independent, preredactional units which were assembled by either one or two redactors (Neiderwimmer 1989:64-70, ET 1998:42-52). Comparison of the "Two Ways" section with several other "Two Ways" documents suggests that Didache 1-6 is itself the result of multistage editing. The document began with rather haphazard organization (cf. Barnabas 18-20), but was reorganized in a source common to the Didache, the Doctrina apostolorum, and the Apostolic Church Order and supplemented by a sapiental meditation on minor and major transgressions (3.1-6) (Kloppenborg 1995c). In addition to this "Two Ways" section it is also possible to discern the presence of a mini-apocalypse related to someo f the materials that eventually found their way into Matthew 24-25 (Excavating Q, pp. 134-135)


Based on these quotes… what leads you to believe that the chapter 7 (which gives the instruction on baptism) isn’t Anti-Nicene Christian? These quotes give no information about chapter 7, other than that it is identified as a liturgical manual. Mormon Apologist Barry Bickmore certainly does not argue that the instruction is post-nicene:

The rite of baptism began to be perverted early on. Even in the first century certain communities had adopted the practice of pouring, but only when it was not possible to find enough water to immerse in. The Didache , which probably originated in Syria, suggests that one should be baptized in running water, but if none can be found, in still. Also, cold water is preferred over hot. ‘But if thou have not either, pour out water thrice upon the head into the name of Father and Son and Holy Spirit.’15 Perhaps in certain desert communities this eventuality was sometimes faced, and in time it became the practice of the Church in general to sprinkle or pour, especially when infants were baptized.” http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Parthen ... 0Immersion

You should also consider the Anti-Nicene Epistle of Cyprian, which states, "In the case of illness, one was baptized by pouring." (LXXIII: I)

Although numerous vestiges of the original Apostolic church existed into the second century, by the time The Didache had been composed in the early second century, significant changes had already taken place….


Irrelevant. Even if what you say is true, the document would still be ANTI-Nicene Christian.

There is no biblical warrant for it at all in the New Testament…


So what? You seem to think that I am making a claim for orthodoxy. <chuckle> I am agnostic. by the way… you are aware that the canonization of your volume of scripture is Anti-Nicene, aren’t you?

so we are left to understand that, in an era when everyone was claiming to be "orthodox" and claiming to have the forty day teachings, a variation like this isn't at all surprising.


You are arguing out of context.

You are still left with not a shred of evidence supporting an assertion that early, first century or second century Christians for that matter, would have used the cross in the way later early medieval Christians did had they been utterly at liberty to do so.


Why must I provide this evidence, if this is not the argument that I am making. See above.

The LDS position on the cross is really very simple: it was the instrument of Christs torturous and agonizing death. We worship a living Christ, and therefore, memorializing that instrument is of little value for us. As far as visual reminders of him, many LDS, like myself, have pictures in our homes of him, but no crosses. He is risen, not dead, so we do not hold sacred the physical means of his death, even given the pivitol role it played in the entire Gospel drama, as to the final prophesied culmination of his ministry.


Yes. I understand that this is why many Latter-day Saints abhor the symbol. The million dollar questions for YOU, however, are: Can you find this same rationale being promoted by Early Christians? Why the sign of the nail in your temple ceremony, if the instruments that killed Jesus are so abhorrent?

The best you can do here is show that the fish was used in lieu of...what? The cross? No evidence.


I never argued this. Drop the lance.

It would be equally as likely for ancient Christians to have carved religiously inspired poetry or scriptural references on gravestones or tombs, as modern Christians do today. The fish would have been a ready alternative to that. Again, we see the popular use of the cross, and later the crucifix, appearing on the scene in the fourth and fifth centuries, not the first or second and barely in the third.


Sigh…

See above.


Oh heavens, you're arguing with Coggins?

People on this board must have some kind of masochistic streak.

Here's a challenge to any believer out there. Outside of the one reference in the D & C to Jesus sweatig blood, as it were, in the Garden of G. (which has been interpreted to mean that this is where the atonement took place), please show any other scriptural evidence that the atonement took place in the Garden.

I believe that if you check you referenes to the BofM (the "most correct book on earth") you'll find that ALL references to the atonement act refer to the cross/crucifiction.

I guess the BofM prophets knew not of what they spoke when they discoursed on the atonement.
God . . . "who mouths morals to other people and has none himself; who frowns upon crimes, yet commits them all; who created man without invitation, . . . and finally, with altogether divine obtuseness, invites this poor, abused slave to worship him ..."

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guy sajer
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Post by guy sajer »

Mike Reed wrote:
Richard Dawkins wrote:This rebuttle involves the same circular reasoning: it assumes first century Christians wanted to wear crosses and use them as physical symbolism and then sets out to discover and document all the hypothetical reasons that they in fact didn't.


Err… my rebuttal assumes that Christians wanted to wear crosses, and gives the reasons why they didn’t want to wear crosses? <chuckle> Nice try to create a circularity where one does not exist. My position, rather, acknowledges that early Christians had reservations about depicting crosses materially, explains what those reservations were, shows that they do not mirror the rationale behind the LDS no-cross protocol, and argues that LDS apologists should therefore not use the early Christian non-use as a justification for their aversion to the cross. Literary evidence indicates that although Christians did not materially depict the cross, the visual symbol was extremely sacred to them. Unlike the LDS Church, they revered it and looked for its manifestation around them.

Also… you need to understand that your justification for one area condemns you in other areas. For example, the Mormon custom of placing a depiction of an angel on their religious architecture would have been unacceptable for early Christians.


I wrote: I have found no evidence to support this popular LDS assertion. If you have any, please do share. Your reductio absurdem, that the cross symbolizes a mere instrument of torture, is not consistent with their reverence for the manifestation of the cross. Nor is it consistent with early Christian literary imagery.

Coggins7 (AKA Richard Dawkins) responds: I'll share it again for you: there is no evidence whatever of the use, and especially the popular, widespread use of the cross for any purpose whatever, until around the fourth century. Those are the historical facts of the matter as the evidence stands.


I asked for evidence to substantiate your assumption that the absence of the Cross was due to an abhorrence of the instrument that killed Jesus… and you cite the absence. What were you saying about circularity? <chuckle>

Nonetheless, without literary or documented evidence of a particular reverence for the cross itself in either the first century or most of the second, you are arguing to the wind.


Are you reading my posts?????

The Cross Made Manifest
Christians, rather than depicting sacred and spiritual realities materially, observed their natural occurrence. They looked for their natural manifestations around them. Such mystical observation was sought out for the cross, as noted by Minucius Felix. He states that although they do not outwardly use the physical image of the cross (“we [Christians] neither worship nor wish for [the cross]”), they brought it to mind when they saw its resemblance in other things:

“We assuredly see the sign of a cross, naturally, in the ship when it is carried along with swelling sails, when it glides forward with expanded oars; and when the military yoke is lifted up, it is the sign of a cross; and when a man adores God with a pure mind, with hands outstretched. Thus the sign of the cross either is sustained by a natural reason, or your own religion is formed with respect to it.” (19)

Consistent with the views of Clement, Minucius explains how Christians look for the manifestation of the cross, rather than (like pagans) create the outward image of it.

It is clear that many Christians refrained from using images that derived from an improper process of unnaturally manipulating dead matter, which would have (according to Clement and other Christians) dishonored nature and God, and broken the second commandment. Christians were not creating a religious symbol for the sake of its religious significance. Rather, the images they viewed were mere natural manifestations of spiritual realities, perceived by the mind.

This mystical viewing was a popular trend among early Christians. Jerome discovered the manifestation of the cross in a swimming man, flying bird, and a man praying with extended arms. (20) Justin Martyr proclaims that a ship’s sail, a plough, the banners and trophies of the government, and the human form (body posture, and profile of face head) each manifest “no other form than that of the cross.” (21) Tertullian speaks of the cross being manifested in the human posture, and by “Every piece of timber which is fixed in the ground in an erect position.” (22)

Christians similarly looked for hidden manifestation of the cross throughout the Old Testament. (23) Tertullian observes the way that Moses, “at the time when Joshua was battling against Amalek, pray[ed] sitting with hands expanded…,” and in the brazen serpent that Moses hung on a tree, in order to heal Israel. “[H]e was exhibiting the Lord's cross,” concludes Tertullian. (24)

The Epistle of Barnabas finds a manifestation of the crucifixion in the number of men that Abraham circumcised in his household:

“For [the Scripture] saith, ‘And Abraham circumcised ten, and eight, and three hundred men of his household.’ What, then, was the knowledge given to him in this? Learn the eighteen first, and then the three hundred. The ten and the eight are thus denoted — Ten by I, and Eight by H. You have [the initials of the, name of] Jesus. And because the cross was to express the grace [of our redemption] by the letter T, he says also, ‘Three Hundred.’ He signifies, therefore, Jesus by two letters, and the cross by one. He knows this, who has put within us the engrafted gift of His doctrine. No one has been admitted by me to a more excellent piece of knowledge than this, but I know that ye are worthy.” (25)

The Tau (T or +)(26) is the last Letter of the Greek alphabet, and has the numeric value of 300. Christians believed that the tau was equivalent to the Hebrew letter omega (being the last letter of the Hebrew alphabet, and name of God), and manifested the image of the cross in its form. Such symbolism was also found manifest in the proportions of Noah’s ark: “Now there are some who say that three hundred cubits are the symbol of the Lord's sign,” reports Clement of Alexandria. (27)

The mystical search and observation of the cross, allowed Christians to embrace the symbol without depicting it materially (breaking the second commandment) or drawing the attention of their persecutors. Christians also got around these obstacles by tracing the “Lord’s sign,”(T or +, which revealed the cross) upon their foreheads. Tertullian records:

“We feel pained should any wine or bread, even though our own, be cast upon the ground. At every forward step and movement, at every going in and out, when we put on 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.” (28)

The Christian act of tracing the sign was in fact a reenactment of God’s command in Ezekiel 9:4. Tertullian explains this elsewhere:

“He [Christ] signed them with that very seal of which Ezekiel spake: "The Lord said unto me, Go through the gate, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set the mark Tau upon the foreheads of the men." Now the Greek letter Tau and our own letter T is the very form of the cross, which He predicted would be the sign on our foreheads in the true Catholic Jerusalem… Now, inasmuch as all these things are also found amongst you, and the sign upon the forehead, and the sacraments of the church, and the offerings of the pure sacrifice, you ought now to burst forth, and declare that the Spirit of the Creator prophesied of your Christ.” (29)

Tracing the cross (tau) upon their forehead was not in conflict with the second commandment, since doing so did not manipulate dead matter. Nor did the private action draw the attention of critics, since the symbol was traced invisibly. By tracing the sign, rather than drawing it visibly Christians were able to worship inconspicuously, and get their reservations for depicting the cross materially.

Conclusion
In conclusion, I repeat that the absence of the image of the cross in Christian artwork, was due to three significant reasons. 1) Christians desired to worship inconspicuously. 2) The image was a stumbling block to Jews and Gentiles, and therefore was not used as an emblem for attracting converts. 3) Christians had reservations about depicting the cross materially, bearing that they would commit the sin of Idolatry.

One should not conclude from this absence that the visual sign of the cross wasn’t therefore sacred to Christians. Though they had reservations about creating material depictions of the cross, many of them got around those reservations by looking for its mystical manifestation, and tracing it upon their foreheads.


19 Minucius Felix, The Octavius of the Octavius of, ch 29; as found in software The Complete Christian Collection (Packard Technologies, 1999).
20 Adam Clarke, Clarke’s Commentary on the Bible (vol 5), The Gospel According to Matthew, 27:35.
21 First Apology of Justin, ch 55.
22 AD Nationes, book 1, ch 12.
23 Hippolytus and Clement see the image and message of the cross in the Greco-Roman Myth, when the Ulyssies is tied to the mast of the ship (Cross of Christ), that he may not give way to the voice of the sirens. The Refutation of all Heresies, book 7; Exhortation to the Heather, ch 12.
24 Tertullian, Answers to the Jews, ch 10.
25 Epistle of Barnabas, ch 9; see also Clement of Alexandria, The Stroma, book 6, ch 11.
26 “St. Jerome and many others have thought that the letter tau was that which was ordered to be placed on the foreheads of those mourners; and Jerome says, that this Hebrew letter t tau was formerly written like a cross. So then the people were to be signed with the sign of the cross! It is certain that on the ancient Samaritan coins, which are yet extant, the letter t tau is in the form +, which is what we term St. Andrew’s cross.” Clarke’s Commentary, volume 4, chapter 9, verse 4.
27 The Stroma, book 6, ch 11.
28 The Chaplet, or De Corona, ch 3.
29 The Five Books Against Macrion, book 3, ch 22; see also Tertullian, Answer to the Jews, ch 11.

I wrote: Also... "Clear implication that the atonement itself was undergone in the Garden"? Where??? I agree that it would have been difficult for Christians to come up with a material image to remind them of the Garden of Gethsemane. Literary imagery, on the other hand, wouldn't have been so difficult. Nor would it have been difficult for Christians to look for the manifestation of the Garden of Gethsemane. The absence of such imagery in Early Christian literature, therefore, seems to undermine your rationale.

Coggins7 responds: Or it undermines yours, as perhaps they weren't looking of any such imagery at all.


Read my repost above and explain more clearly what you are saying here. I am not following you.

Your affection for tautology has become rather conspicuous at this point. Assuming each and every one of these to be correct, you have still never so much as approached the question your arguments are supposed to be grappling with: did early Christians wear and venerate the cross? Your approach continues to assume that they did,


What the?... My approach assumes that early Christians wore the cross? Where in the HELL did you get that idea from? Did they venerate the cross? By the evidence that I cited above… yes. There is no assumption here. The evidence speaks for itself.

based upon a series of plausible but historically unsupported social conditions that might very well have mitigated any such desire but may very well have had no effect on such if no such desire existed in the first place, and you have not as yet provided a cogent argument of historical evidence to the effect that such a desire or tradition existed much before the third century.


Drop the lance Quixote, and leave that poor windmill alone!

I wrote: Do you remember the Iconoclastic actions of Jerome that I cited? Jerome reports that he visited a Christian church, where he saw a veil that had a depiction of Jesus or a disciple on it, and that upon seeing it, he tore it down and replaced it with a plain veil. This occasion shows that even after the Milvian Bridge, there remained disagreement among some Christians over God’s second commandment.

Coggins7 responded: You are still begging the same questions here. Adding more and more examples does nothing to ensure further certitude. The fact still remains that the popularity of the cross as a Christian symbol appears in the fourth century, well after Christen persecution was a dim memory.


You are arguing out of context. (Soft musical intro… To Dream… the Impossible Dream… To Fight… the Unbeatable Foe…)

I wrote: Your assumption that only one mode of baptism existed in Christianity prior to Constantine is naïve. Have you read the Didache?

Coggins7: Yes, doubtless more times than you have…. this document mention of sprinkling makes clear….


LOL! The document DOESN’T mention sprinkling. Had you been truly familiar with this text, you would have known this.

Coggins7: and while the Didache is a very valuable document, and highly prized among second century Christians. The reference to baptism here may or may not be an original part of the document.


Whether it was from the original document is irrelevant to me, so long as it was a CHRISTIAN who made the interpolation/redaction.

Here's what Crossen, in The Birth of Christianity says:

. . . the Didache may derive from a rural rather than an urban situation. It may stem from the consensus of rural households rather than the authority of urban patrons. Willy Rordorf and Andre Tullier, writing in a major French series, located the Didache in northern Palestine or western Syria, but not in the capital city of Antioch. They noted that the text is addressed to "rural communities of converted pagans" (98). It "reveals a Christianity established in rural communities who have broken with the radicalism of earlier converts" (100). It "speaks principally to rural milieus converted early on in Syria and Palestine and no doubt furnishing the first Christian communities outside of cities" (128). Kurt Niederwimmer, however, writing in a major German series, considered it still possible that "the Didache could derive from an urban milieu," but he agreed that it was not from the great metropolis of Antioch (80). It is not enough, in any case, simply to note the mention of "firstfruits" in Didache 13:3-7, since that could indicate urban-based landowners. My own preference for a rural over an urban setting comes not from those few verses but from the Didache's rhetorical serenity, ungendered equality, and striking difference from so many other early Christian texts.


Here is what John S. Kloppenborg Verbin has to say on the subject of the sturcture of the document.

The Didache, an early second-century Christian composition, is also clearly composite, consisting of a "Two Ways" section (chaps. 1-6), a liturgical manual (7-10), instructions on the reception of traveling prophets (11-15), and a brief apocalypse (16). Marked divergences in style and content as well as the presence of doublets and obvious interpolations make plain the fact that the Didache was not cut from whole cloth. The dominant view today is that the document was composed on the basis of several independent, preredactional units which were assembled by either one or two redactors (Neiderwimmer 1989:64-70, ET 1998:42-52). Comparison of the "Two Ways" section with several other "Two Ways" documents suggests that Didache 1-6 is itself the result of multistage editing. The document began with rather haphazard organization (cf. Barnabas 18-20), but was reorganized in a source common to the Didache, the Doctrina apostolorum, and the Apostolic Church Order and supplemented by a sapiental meditation on minor and major transgressions (3.1-6) (Kloppenborg 1995c). In addition to this "Two Ways" section it is also possible to discern the presence of a mini-apocalypse related to someo f the materials that eventually found their way into Matthew 24-25 (Excavating Q, pp. 134-135)


Based on these quotes… what leads you to believe that the chapter 7 (which gives the instruction on baptism) isn’t Anti-Nicene Christian? These quotes give no information about chapter 7, other than that it is identified as a liturgical manual. Mormon Apologist Barry Bickmore certainly does not argue that the instruction is post-nicene:

The rite of baptism began to be perverted early on. Even in the first century certain communities had adopted the practice of pouring, but only when it was not possible to find enough water to immerse in. The Didache , which probably originated in Syria, suggests that one should be baptized in running water, but if none can be found, in still. Also, cold water is preferred over hot. ‘But if thou have not either, pour out water thrice upon the head into the name of Father and Son and Holy Spirit.’15 Perhaps in certain desert communities this eventuality was sometimes faced, and in time it became the practice of the Church in general to sprinkle or pour, especially when infants were baptized.” http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Parthen ... 0Immersion

You should also consider the Anti-Nicene Epistle of Cyprian, which states, "In the case of illness, one was baptized by pouring." (LXXIII: I)

Although numerous vestiges of the original Apostolic church existed into the second century, by the time The Didache had been composed in the early second century, significant changes had already taken place….


Irrelevant. Even if what you say is true, the document would still be ANTI-Nicene Christian.

There is no biblical warrant for it at all in the New Testament…


So what? You seem to think that I am making a claim for orthodoxy. <chuckle> I am agnostic. by the way… you are aware that the canonization of your volume of scripture is Anti-Nicene, aren’t you?

so we are left to understand that, in an era when everyone was claiming to be "orthodox" and claiming to have the forty day teachings, a variation like this isn't at all surprising.


You are arguing out of context.

You are still left with not a shred of evidence supporting an assertion that early, first century or second century Christians for that matter, would have used the cross in the way later early medieval Christians did had they been utterly at liberty to do so.


Why must I provide this evidence, if this is not the argument that I am making. See above.

The LDS position on the cross is really very simple: it was the instrument of Christs torturous and agonizing death. We worship a living Christ, and therefore, memorializing that instrument is of little value for us. As far as visual reminders of him, many LDS, like myself, have pictures in our homes of him, but no crosses. He is risen, not dead, so we do not hold sacred the physical means of his death, even given the pivitol role it played in the entire Gospel drama, as to the final prophesied culmination of his ministry.


Yes. I understand that this is why many Latter-day Saints abhor the symbol. The million dollar questions for YOU, however, are: Can you find this same rationale being promoted by Early Christians? Why the sign of the nail in your temple ceremony, if the instruments that killed Jesus are so abhorrent?

The best you can do here is show that the fish was used in lieu of...what? The cross? No evidence.


I never argued this. Drop the lance.

It would be equally as likely for ancient Christians to have carved religiously inspired poetry or scriptural references on gravestones or tombs, as modern Christians do today. The fish would have been a ready alternative to that. Again, we see the popular use of the cross, and later the crucifix, appearing on the scene in the fourth and fifth centuries, not the first or second and barely in the third.


Sigh…

See above.


Oh heavens, you're arguing with Coggins?

People on this board must have some kind of masochistic streak.

Here's a challenge to any believer out there. Outside of the one reference in the D & C to Jesus sweatig blood, as it were, in the Garden of G. (which has been interpreted to mean that this is where the atonement took place), please show any other scriptural evidence that the atonement took place in the Garden.

I believe that if you check you referenes to the BofM (the "most correct book on earth") you'll find that ALL references to the atonement act refer to the cross/crucifiction.

It apears that the BofM prophets knew not of what they spoke when they discoursed on the atonement.
God . . . "who mouths morals to other people and has none himself; who frowns upon crimes, yet commits them all; who created man without invitation, . . . and finally, with altogether divine obtuseness, invites this poor, abused slave to worship him ..."

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Post by Mike Reed »

guy sajer: Oh heavens, you're arguing with Coggins? People on this board must have some kind of masochistic streak.

Me: <grin> “Getting anything into the [head of Coggins] has been like splitting hemlock knots with a corn-dodger for a wedge and a pumpkin for a beetle." - Joseph Smith

guy sajer: Here's a challenge to any believer out there. Outside of the one reference in the D & C to Jesus sweatig blood, as it were, in the Garden of G. (which has been interpreted to mean that this is where the atonement took place), please show any other scriptural evidence that the atonement took place in the Garden. I believe that if you check you referenes to the BofM (the "most correct book on earth") you'll find that ALL references to the atonement act refer to the cross/crucifiction. It apears that the BofM prophets knew not of what they spoke when they discoursed on the atonement.

Me: I'm no believer, but here is a passage from the Book of Mormon: "And lo, he shall suffer temptations, and pain of body, hunger, thirst, and fatigue, even more than man can suffer, except it be unto death; for behold, blood cometh from every pore, so great shall be his anguish for the wickedness and the abominations of his people." (Mosiah 3:7) What is interesting to me is that although the Book of Mormon (in one location) promotes the idea that Jesus suffered for sin in Gethsemane, the cross is the main literary symbol for expressing the atonement. The rationale, that the cross isn't used because the atonement also happened in the garden, therefore has no credibility to it... and is (as I have already noted) additionally undermined by the existing sign of the nail's in the endowment ceremony. Furthermore there is no evidence (that I am aware of) to show that the Christians reluctance to depict crosses had any thing to do with the role of Gethsemane in the atonement.

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Post by Mary »

Mike I have come late to this thread, (interest peeked with your comments to Coggins in the other thread).....

My father back in 1971, bought my mother a beautiful golden cross when they joined the church. (She was more enthusiastic about the whole thing than him).
Her response was to basically throw it in his face and say that she wouldn't use such a symbol. (VT's had shown their disapproval).

My father was perplexed (and hurt I think)...

Wind forward a few years and I purchased a silver St Christopher for my then boyfriend (age 16). He wore it in the temple and was promptly told to take it off as it was desecrating the holiness of the temple.

I've read your research with great interest Mike. I take your point about LDS sacrament and endowment (had to think about the endowment for a while to get it...), and was really interested that the LDS church petitioned to have a cross erected in Salt Lake City and that it was on the early books.


Just out of interest does anyone know if there were tau symbols used on possible christian ossuaries found on the mount of olives? Also, I was in Herculaneum last year and am pretty sure that there was a house with a cross on the wall (Herculaneum was covered in the 1st Century so if it was a christian cross then that would put cross usage firmly in the first century) though it might have been a Greek symbol rather christian?

Most churches over here are laid out in the shape of a cross (particularly the medieval ones). and point east of course.

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Post by guy sajer »

Mike Reed wrote:guy sajer: Oh heavens, you're arguing with Coggins? People on this board must have some kind of masochistic streak.

Me: <grin> “Getting anything into the [head of Coggins] has been like splitting hemlock knots with a corn-dodger for a wedge and a pumpkin for a beetle." - Joseph Smith

guy sajer: Here's a challenge to any believer out there. Outside of the one reference in the D & C to Jesus sweatig blood, as it were, in the Garden of G. (which has been interpreted to mean that this is where the atonement took place), please show any other scriptural evidence that the atonement took place in the Garden. I believe that if you check you referenes to the BofM (the "most correct book on earth") you'll find that ALL references to the atonement act refer to the cross/crucifiction. It apears that the BofM prophets knew not of what they spoke when they discoursed on the atonement.

Me: I'm no believer, but here is a passage from the Book of Mormon: "And lo, he shall suffer temptations, and pain of body, hunger, thirst, and fatigue, even more than man can suffer, except it be unto death; for behold, blood cometh from every pore, so great shall be his anguish for the wickedness and the abominations of his people." (Mosiah 3:7) What is interesting to me is that although the Book of Mormon (in one location) promotes the idea that Jesus suffered for sin in Gethsemane, the cross is the main literary symbol for expressing the atonement. The rationale, that the cross isn't used because the atonement also happened in the garden, therefore has no credibility to it... and is (as I have already noted) additionally undermined by the existing sign of the nail's in the endowment ceremony. Furthermore there is no evidence (that I am aware of) to show that the Christians reluctance to depict crosses had any thing to do with the role of Gethsemane in the atonement.


Good catch, I missed that one. But does this refer to the Garden, or is it a general verse? I do believe that you will also find numerous passages that refer specifically to the cross as the place where Jesus died for our sins, or something like that, implying (farily clearly I think) that the atonement took place on the cross.

But it's been years since I've looked at it, so I might be remembering wrong. Anyone want to take the time to follow up?
God . . . "who mouths morals to other people and has none himself; who frowns upon crimes, yet commits them all; who created man without invitation, . . . and finally, with altogether divine obtuseness, invites this poor, abused slave to worship him ..."

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Post by Mike Reed »

Thanks for sharing these experiences, Miss Taken.

Miss Taken: Just out of interest does anyone know if there were tau symbols used on possible christian ossuaries found on the mount of olives? Also, I was in Herculaneum last year and am pretty sure that there was a house with a cross on the wall (Herculaneum was covered in the 1st Century so if it was a christian cross then that would put cross usage firmly in the first century) though it might have been a Greek symbol rather christian? Most churches over here are laid out in the shape of a cross (particularly the medieval ones). and point east of course.


I addressed the Herculaneum cross in my large post of the first page of this thread (footnote 2):

2 Ibid. Those who reject today’s general agreement among scholars may cite the 1938 excavation discovery of a cross engraved on a wall from an unearthed house in Herculaneum, or the so-called Paletine cross drawing, found in 1856, that depicts a donkey being crucified, with graffiti that reads “Alexamenos, worship god.” But though these “evidences” may both date after the rise of Christianity and prior to the reign of Constantine, there is much to dispute about them. Since the discovery of the cross at Herculaneum, “Further consideration,” says Everett Ferguson, “has given a more utilitarian purpose: the imprint in the plaster was left by wooden brackets for a wall cabinet or perhaps a shelf or mantle with a supporting upright piece.”(Backgrounds of Early Christianity [Grand Rapids: Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2003], 590.) Graydon Snyder agrees, “[T]his so-called cross could have been anything attached to the wall by two cross pieces.” (Snyder, 27.) But even if the new consideration is wrong, and that the engraving indeed marked where a Latin-style-cross was once displayed, there is no reason to believe that the cross was hung by a Christian, and not a Pagan. As already explained, the cross has been used throughout antiquity by nearly every known culture. Furthermore, outside this extremely questionable example, the underwhelming evidence that the Christians displayed the image of the cross during this period makes the idea “simply appear to us as a surd in the development of early Christian art: it came three hundred years too soon.” (Ibid.) The Paletine cross should also not count as “evidence” to debunk the conclusion that we cannot find the image of the cross (in reference to the passion) being used prior to the reign of Constantine. One problem is that “no fixed date can be given for this drawing.” (Snyder, 28.) Secondly, since the image is assumed to be drawn by an opponent of the faith, “it hardly proves that the cross was an early Christian symbol.” (Ibid.) Again, the opponent would have drawn it, not a Christian. Thirdly, though one today may be quick to assume that this derogatory cartoon mocked the Christian kerygma, there is a possibility that actually paganism is being mocked. Not only did pagans use the image cross, but also some even depicted an image of deity hanging on it. Minucius Felix, of the third century, denied, “Crosses, moreover, we [Christians] neither worship nor wish for,” and then criticized pagans, saying, “You, indeed, who consecrate gods of wood, adore wooden crosses perhaps as parts of your gods…. Your victorious trophies not only imitate the appearance of a simple cross, but also that of a man affixed to it.” (The Octavius of the Octavius of, ch 29.) Barbara G. Walker comments on Minucius Felix’s remarks, saying, “From very ancient times, an effigy of a man hanging on a cross was set up in fields to protect the crops. The modern scarecrow is a survival of this sacrificial magic, representing the sacred king whose blood was supposed to fertilize the earth.” (The Woman’s Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets [San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1983], 188.) An example of such an image is the controversial second to third century amulet of Orpheus-Bakkikos Crucified. (Timothy Freke and Peter Gandy, The Jesus Mysteries: Was the "Original Jesus" a Pagan God? [Three Rivers Press, 2001], 52.)

Regarding the Ossuaries on Mt. Olives… a couple years ago I participated in a discussion about them on the CARM message boards, and wrote the following:

XXXXX: here are a couple of examples:
French Archaeologist Charles Clermant-Ganneau, discovered of a burial chamber on the Mount of Olives in 1874. Inside were 30+ ossuaries some of which had crosses on them. Also, the name "Jesus" occurred three times, twice in graphic association with a cross. These ossuaries are dated to about 135 AD or earlier (Ancient Times, Vol. 3, No. 1, July 1958, p. 3.)

Me: The inscriptions you speak of, Iesous aloth and Iesous iou are probably personal names, "Jesus Son of Aloth" and "Jesus, son of Judas." The name Jesus, as you should know, was a very common. And the X and + shaped crosses are probably the Hebrew letter taw. This letter was the sign of Yahweh, mentioned in Ezekiel 9:4. The taw on the ossuaries was (in all likelihood) either used as an expression of (Jewish) faith, or was used as a sign to ward off demons. There is no evidence that the symbol was used in reference to the passion event. Nor is there reason to believe that the name Jesus refers to Jesus of Nazareth, son of Mary and brother of Jesus.

XXXXX: Unlikely. The ossuaries were ALL in a Jewish "cemetary" and only a few of them were marked with these crosses. The names were written in GREEK not Hebrew.

Me: The taw had become a symbol of protection for Jews (even hellenized Jews). Your assertion that the rare appearance of the symbol, indicates that they were not Jewish, is purely speculative. Furthermore, your hopeful but naïve speculation is contradicted by Everett Ferguson's report that "The mark occurs in Jewish funerary settings (including a Jewish catacomb in Rome) with some frequency." (Backgrounds of Early Christianity, 591)

http://www.christiandiscussionforums.or ... php?t=4511

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Post by Mike Reed »

Fortigurn wrote:
Coggins7 wrote:I should have been clearer and not made such a broad statement.


Quoted for truth. Preach it Cogs! That's signature material.

Lazy research debunked: bcspace x 4 | maklelan x 3 | Coggins7 x 5 (by Mr. Coffee x2) | grampa75 x 1 | whyme x 2 | rcrocket x 2 | Kerry Shirts x 1 | Enuma Elish x 1|


You keeping score for this discussion, Fortigurn? :)

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Post by Gazelam »

Its always been my understanding that the Atonement began in the Gethsemane and ended on the cross. The whole thing being the atonement. Actually that part was for eternal life, the resurrection making possible immortality.

I never took it to be that there was some arguement as to whether the Garden or the cross brought about the atonement. I took them to be one and the same.
We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light. - Plato

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Post by guy sajer »

Gazelam wrote:Its always been my understanding that the Atonement began in the Gethsemane and ended on the cross. The whole thing being the atonement. Actually that part was for eternal life, the resurrection making possible immortality.

I never took it to be that there was some arguement as to whether the Garden or the cross brought about the atonement. I took them to be one and the same.


Well, I was always taught that the atonement took place in the Garden--that is, the critical act of taking on all the sins of the world.

Still, the whole notion that someone had to take on my sins for me to get forgiveness makes little sense to me. I'd like to hear some logical rationale for this; one that doesn't involve circular reasoning using scriptures.

I am, for example, capable of forgiving my children, and I haven't required my oldest son to die so that I can forgive the others. The whole thing makes no sense to me.
God . . . "who mouths morals to other people and has none himself; who frowns upon crimes, yet commits them all; who created man without invitation, . . . and finally, with altogether divine obtuseness, invites this poor, abused slave to worship him ..."

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Passion of Christ

Post by Gazelam »

Our Lord's sufferings - the pain, torture, crown of thorns, scourging, and final crucifixion - which he endured between the night of the Last Supper and his death on the cross are collectively spoken of as the Passion of Christ. (Acts 1:3) The sectarian world falsely suppose that the climax of his torture and suffering was on the cross (Matt. 27:26-50; Mark 15:1-38; Luke 23:1-46; John 18; 19:1-18) - a view which they keep ever before them by the constant use of the cross as a religious symbol. The fact is that intense and severe as the suffering was on the cross, yet the great pains were endured in the Garden of Gethsemane. (Matt. 26:36-46; Mark 14:32-42; Luke 22:39-46; John 18:1) it was there that he trembled because of pain, bled at every pore, and suffered both in body and in spirit, and would that he "might not drink the bitter cup." (D&C 19:15-19; Mosiah 3:7) It was there he underwent his greatest suffering for men, taking upon himself, as he did, their sins on conditions of repentence. (D&C 18:10-15) Mormon Doctrine pg. 555



Christ did this for us due to the fact that [i]no unclean thing can dwell in the presence of God. During our time of probation we break universal laws, and for each law broken comes a penalty that must be paid by the demands of justice. If we desire to return to the Father we must be made clean, and Christs suffering as an innocent meets the demands and allows us a way back. That is why we must take upon us his name in the waters of baptism. Its by his name we are able to return to the presence of the Father.
We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light. - Plato

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Post by Mary »

Mike Reed wrote:Thanks for sharing these experiences, Miss Taken.

Miss Taken: Just out of interest does anyone know if there were tau symbols used on possible christian ossuaries found on the mount of olives? Also, I was in Herculaneum last year and am pretty sure that there was a house with a cross on the wall (Herculaneum was covered in the 1st Century so if it was a christian cross then that would put cross usage firmly in the first century) though it might have been a Greek symbol rather christian? Most churches over here are laid out in the shape of a cross (particularly the medieval ones). and point east of course.


I addressed the Herculaneum cross in my large post of the first page of this thread (footnote 2):

2 Ibid. Those who reject today’s general agreement among scholars may cite the 1938 excavation discovery of a cross engraved on a wall from an unearthed house in Herculaneum, or the so-called Paletine cross drawing, found in 1856, that depicts a donkey being crucified, with graffiti that reads “Alexamenos, worship god.” But though these “evidences” may both date after the rise of Christianity and prior to the reign of Constantine, there is much to dispute about them. Since the discovery of the cross at Herculaneum, “Further consideration,” says Everett Ferguson, “has given a more utilitarian purpose: the imprint in the plaster was left by wooden brackets for a wall cabinet or perhaps a shelf or mantle with a supporting upright piece.”(Backgrounds of Early Christianity [Grand Rapids: Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2003], 590.) Graydon Snyder agrees, “[T]his so-called cross could have been anything attached to the wall by two cross pieces.” (Snyder, 27.) But even if the new consideration is wrong, and that the engraving indeed marked where a Latin-style-cross was once displayed, there is no reason to believe that the cross was hung by a Christian, and not a Pagan. As already explained, the cross has been used throughout antiquity by nearly every known culture. Furthermore, outside this extremely questionable example, the underwhelming evidence that the Christians displayed the image of the cross during this period makes the idea “simply appear to us as a surd in the development of early Christian art: it came three hundred years too soon.” (Ibid.) The Paletine cross should also not count as “evidence” to debunk the conclusion that we cannot find the image of the cross (in reference to the passion) being used prior to the reign of Constantine. One problem is that “no fixed date can be given for this drawing.” (Snyder, 28.) Secondly, since the image is assumed to be drawn by an opponent of the faith, “it hardly proves that the cross was an early Christian symbol.” (Ibid.) Again, the opponent would have drawn it, not a Christian. Thirdly, though one today may be quick to assume that this derogatory cartoon mocked the Christian kerygma, there is a possibility that actually paganism is being mocked. Not only did pagans use the image cross, but also some even depicted an image of deity hanging on it. Minucius Felix, of the third century, denied, “Crosses, moreover, we [Christians] neither worship nor wish for,” and then criticized pagans, saying, “You, indeed, who consecrate gods of wood, adore wooden crosses perhaps as parts of your gods…. Your victorious trophies not only imitate the appearance of a simple cross, but also that of a man affixed to it.” (The Octavius of the Octavius of, ch 29.) Barbara G. Walker comments on Minucius Felix’s remarks, saying, “From very ancient times, an effigy of a man hanging on a cross was set up in fields to protect the crops. The modern scarecrow is a survival of this sacrificial magic, representing the sacred king whose blood was supposed to fertilize the earth.” (The Woman’s Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets [San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1983], 188.) An example of such an image is the controversial second to third century amulet of Orpheus-Bakkikos Crucified. (Timothy Freke and Peter Gandy, The Jesus Mysteries: Was the "Original Jesus" a Pagan God? [Three Rivers Press, 2001], 52.)

Regarding the Ossuaries on Mt. Olives… a couple years ago I participated in a discussion about them on the CARM message boards, and wrote the following:

XXXXX: here are a couple of examples:
French Archaeologist Charles Clermant-Ganneau, discovered of a burial chamber on the Mount of Olives in 1874. Inside were 30+ ossuaries some of which had crosses on them. Also, the name "Jesus" occurred three times, twice in graphic association with a cross. These ossuaries are dated to about 135 AD or earlier (Ancient Times, Vol. 3, No. 1, July 1958, p. 3.)

Me: The inscriptions you speak of, Iesous aloth and Iesous iou are probably personal names, "Jesus Son of Aloth" and "Jesus, son of Judas." The name Jesus, as you should know, was a very common. And the X and + shaped crosses are probably the Hebrew letter taw. This letter was the sign of Yahweh, mentioned in Ezekiel 9:4. The taw on the ossuaries was (in all likelihood) either used as an expression of (Jewish) faith, or was used as a sign to ward off demons. There is no evidence that the symbol was used in reference to the passion event. Nor is there reason to believe that the name Jesus refers to Jesus of Nazareth, son of Mary and brother of Jesus.

XXXXX: Unlikely. The ossuaries were ALL in a Jewish "cemetary" and only a few of them were marked with these crosses. The names were written in GREEK not Hebrew.

Me: The taw had become a symbol of protection for Jews (even hellenized Jews). Your assertion that the rare appearance of the symbol, indicates that they were not Jewish, is purely speculative. Furthermore, your hopeful but naïve speculation is contradicted by Everett Ferguson's report that "The mark occurs in Jewish funerary settings (including a Jewish catacomb in Rome) with some frequency." (Backgrounds of Early Christianity, 591)

http://www.christiandiscussionforums.or ... php?t=4511



Brilliant. Thanks.
Mary

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