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Re: Ichthus - Fish and Bread?

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  • RSBrenchley@aol.com
    Message 1 of 3 , Dec 23, 2008
      <<But if the fish symbol
      (whether as a word or as a picture) itself is not primarily Christian, might
      the same be true of the wheel? I suggest so. That particular kind of wheel
      has a long iconographic history. For part of it, check out:


      It is not so much "a symbol for Buddhism'' as this article states (the wheel

      motif is central in Hinduism also) as it is a symbol of dialectical and
      soteriological completeness, among other things. Such an icon, in such an
      understanding, it seems to me, might easily have been picked up off the
      trade routes by the proto-Gnostics of the Ephesus area, as a suitably
      enigmatic coding of their own ideas. One thing the wheel has going for it,
      symbolically, is that its roundness is even more evocative of the cosmos
      than is the curvaceous but in the end merely linear fish.>>

      The 8-pointed wheel in the Wikipedia article is also reminiscent of the star
      and diadem prutot issued by Alexander Jannaeus (the so-called 'widow's
      mites'). While I can't come up with an obvious connection with fish, it's not hard
      to see how a symbol like that, combining Baalam's star prophecy with a royal
      diadem, might have been used for Jesus. It's also easy to see why it
      wouldn't catch on with a movement eager to seem non-threatening to Rome!


      Robert Brenchley
      Birmingham UK

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