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17 - Dissemination of Biblical Narratives, Motifs, and Figures through Early Christian Inscriptions and Homilies

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 October 2023

Lewis Ayres
Affiliation:
University of Durham and Australian Catholic University, Melbourne
Michael W. Champion
Affiliation:
Australian Catholic University, Melbourne
Matthew R. Crawford
Affiliation:
Australian Catholic University, Melbourne
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Summary

Early Christians used biblical narratives and motifs often and extensively. Supplementing literary evidence, Christian funerary inscriptions and inscriptions in church buildings reveal the dissemination of biblical tradition by the naming of children and by allusions to and citations from the Bible. Ekphrastic reference to and depiction of scenes from the Bible—like Moses splitting the Red Sea, Jonah and the big fish, the seven-eyed lamb of the Apocalypse or the paradisiacal peace of Isaiah 11—in stone or as mosaics and dipinti could be admired in churches or on graveyards. Through inscriptions, mosaics, literary works (such as those of Pseudo-Athanasius, Theodoret of Cyrus, or Amphilochius of Iconium), and liturgical practices, biblical stories and traditions were kept alive and woven into a network of knowledge and imagination, connecting Christians all over the ancient world.

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The Intellectual World of Late Antique Christianity
Reshaping Classical Traditions
, pp. 303 - 327
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2023

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