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Evolution of the Christian Cross Final

Evolution of the Christian Cross Final

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Published by chucksevers
An essay that examines ancient sources and Constan's influence on the evolution of the Cross
An essay that examines ancient sources and Constan's influence on the evolution of the Cross

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Categories:Types, Research, History
Published by: chucksevers on Jul 27, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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09/25/2010

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Evolution of the Christian CrossCharles SeversAmerican Public UniversityHistory/300Kelly Whitaker July 26, 2009
 
Evolution of the Christian CrossBillions alive today accept this cross as the mode of death of Jesus Christ andview it as a world renowned representation or symbol of the Christian faith.
1
Additionallythe cross is one of the earliest Christian symbols and the one most widely used byChristians.
2
Historians as well as Bible Scholars continue to debate as to when and wherethe usage of the Cross began being used in Christianity. Art and the history surrounding ithas depicted for centuries that a Cross was used to kill the founder of the Christian faith, but how and when did Christendom begin using the cross as a symbol of its faith? Acritical examination of some of the primary ancient sources reveals that the Cross did not begin to be used in the Christian arena until the time of Constantine the Great.The Process of Elimination. When was the Cross Not Used?In all the pages of these Early Church Fathers (writers in the early centuries thatinfluenced church doctrine, from the early second century into the third and fourth), “Theworks which have come down to us from the Fathers who lived before the days of Constantine make up over ten thousand pages… and no such thing as a representation of the instrument of execution is once referred to.
”3
There is no real historical evidence thatshows the Cross being used in Christian Worship anytime before Constantine, or thatJesus died on a Cross. A very interesting source tells us that there was however, other Christian symbols being used, but because the Cross is entirely omitted; it can be
1
Sommers, Catherine. “Crosses in History.”
Catholic Insight 
, December 1996, 12-13. http://find.galegroup.com /ips/infomark.do?&contentSet=IAC-Documents&type=retrieve&tabID=T003&prodId=IPS&docId=A30205062&source=gale&userGrou pName=uphoenix&version=1.0(accessed 5 May 2007).
2
Henderson, Charles. (2007). “The Symbols of Christianity: the Cross.” http://www.godweb.org/ morecross.htm (accessed 10 July 2009).
3
Parsons, John D.,
The Non-Christian Cross
. Derby and London: Bemrose &Sons, Ltd, 1896. 12. http://www.christianism.com/html/links.html (accessed 3 July 2009).
 
assumed that it was not a Christian Symbol up to that date. Clement of Alexandria notes
in the late 3
rd 
century and before Constantine,
“And let our seals be either a dove, or afish, or a ship scudding before the wind, or a musical lyre, which Polycrates used, or aship’s anchor, which Seleucus got engraved as a device.”
1
If the Cross was at associatedwith Christendom at this period of time, then it makes sense that it would have beenmentioned here, along with the other symbols or seals approved of by the church anddescribed by Clement.Still, some feel that The Cross was used as a Christian symbol during the firstseveral centuries, but that fear of persecution was keeping them from coming out of thecloset so to speak with regards to Cross usage. This does not seem tenable. The early“Church Fathers” that we are considering as some of our primary sources, and the samesources that advocates for early Cross usage point to, were writing very candidly andopenly about supposed doctrine and the Bible during their day, so why would they go outof their way to omit any references to the Cross as they were writing, as if afraid of somesort of extra persecution if they has mentioned the Cross in their writings?
1
Titus Flavius Clemens (c.150 - 215) “Clement of Alexandria,”
typescript (c.
150-215) quoted in Philip Schaff,
ed. and trans. by
 
Alexander Roberts,and James Donaldson. Grand Rapids, MI.: Christian Classics Ethereal Library, 2006.http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf04.html (accessed July 11, 2009).
2
Sommers, Catherine. “Crosses in History.”
Catholic Insight 
, December 1996, 12-13. http://find.galegroup.com /ips/infomark.do?&contentSet=IAC-Documents&type=retrieve&tabID=T003&prodId=IPS&docId=A30205062&source=gale&userGrou pName=uphoenix&version=1.0(accessed 5 May 2007).

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