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Author Topic: Symbols of the Evangelists  (Read 4170 times) Average Rating: 0
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David
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« on: April 15, 2003, 10:55:41 PM »

In browsing icons I found this particular icon of the Crucifixion that has symbols for the four Evangelists in the corners; St. John as the Eagle, St. Matthew as the man, St. Mark as the Lion, and St. Luke as the Bull. The site says that these symbols are from the Apocalypse of St. John, but I'm having trouble recalling where this is mentioned.  Anyone remember off the top of their head about this?  Thanks!
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« Reply #1 on: April 15, 2003, 11:15:47 PM »

Revelation 4:4-11 RSVA  Round the throne were twenty-four thrones, and seated on the thrones were twenty-four elders, clad in white garments, with golden crowns upon their heads.  (5)  From the throne issue flashes of lightning, and voices and peals of thunder, and before the throne burn seven torches of fire, which are the seven spirits of God;  (6)  and before the throne there is as it were a sea of glass, like crystal. And round the throne, on each side of the throne, are four living creatures, full of eyes in front and behind:  (7)  the first living creature like a lion, the second living creature like an ox, the third living creature with the face of a man, and the fourth living creature like a flying eagle.  (Cool  And the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all round and within, and day and night they never cease to sing, "Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!"  (9)  And whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to him who is seated on the throne, who lives for ever and ever,  (10)  the twenty-four elders fall down before him who is seated on the throne and worship him who lives for ever and ever; they cast their crowns before the throne, singing,  (11)  "Worthy art thou, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for thou didst create all things, and by thy will they existed and were created."

OK, I cheated and used my trusty e-sword, ever ready at my side when I go to do battle at TBTSNBN.
« Last Edit: April 15, 2003, 11:19:56 PM by Oblio » Logged
Oblio
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« Reply #2 on: April 15, 2003, 11:23:14 PM »

There is another icon that we have at church that has Christ on His throne, with the four creatures at the feet and posts of His throne.
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« Reply #3 on: April 16, 2003, 11:32:38 PM »

OK, I cheated and used my trusty e-sword, ever ready at my side when I go to do battle at TBTSNBN.

Wonderful program. Everyone with a PC should have it.
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« Reply #4 on: April 16, 2003, 11:36:53 PM »

St. John as the Eagle, St. Matthew as the man, St. Mark as the Lion, and St. Luke as the Bull.

Can anyone help this catechumen: Why is St. Luke the Bull? etc.
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« Reply #5 on: April 17, 2003, 10:07:45 AM »

Monkey,

The answer I've heard as to the associations of the creatures with the Evangelists goes like this.  Saint Matthew is represented by an angel because his Gospel starts with the genealogy of Christ and the dream of Saint Joseph.  Saint Mark is represented by the lion because his Gospel starts out with Saint John the Baptist's preaching.  Saint Luke, the bull, because of the sacrifice of Zechariah that occurs at the beginning.  Saint John, the eagle, because his Gospel looks at things from a different, higher, perspective, and not from a merely historical perspective, for lack of a better word.
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« Reply #6 on: April 17, 2003, 12:49:44 PM »

As far as I know, commentators have a long tradition of disagreeing with each other as to the exact assignments of the creatures to the gospels.

I once read an article that took a new look at the issue, and came up with the following assignment: Matthew = Lion, Mark = Eagle, Luke = Bull, and John = Angel / Man. Matthew is the lion, because the lion is the symble of Judah, and the Gospel of Matthew focuses on Christ's fulfillment of the messianic prophecies, and seems to be geared towards a Jewish audience. Mark, because the eagle was the symbol of Rome, and Mark seemed to write towards a Gentile audience. Luke, because the bull was the symbol of the Samaritans, and while Luke may not seem to be focused specifically towards them, there are important clues, such as the fact that it is the only Gospel that portrays certain Samaritans as being more faithful than Jews. John is given the Angel / Man, because his Gospel focuses the most on the actual person of Christ.
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« Reply #7 on: April 17, 2003, 01:24:15 PM »

Interesting discussion so far...I really have nothing to add, but it is fascinating.

Oblio, thanks also for the link to e-Sword...it looks like a very interesting program.  It might even be possible to augment it for more Orthodox use if the programmer is willing.
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« Reply #8 on: April 17, 2003, 01:35:00 PM »

I was thinking of sending the programmer a note to that effect.  It would be nice to have ECF et. al. integrated in it.  BTW - did you notice that they had the Greek LXX available ?  I've started to construct .not (e-sword notes) files WRT Orthodox apologetics that I have snipped from many of the posts here and at TBBTSNBN.
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« Reply #9 on: April 17, 2003, 11:16:45 PM »

I've started to construct .not (e-sword notes) files WRT Orthodox apologetics that I have snipped from many of the posts here and at TBBTSNBN.

Same here, especially John 6.
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« Reply #10 on: April 17, 2003, 11:19:44 PM »

As far as I know, commentators have a long tradition of disagreeing with each other as to the exact assignments of the creatures to the gospels.

I've been searching the internet on this. There seems to be some debate among the Fathers and others concerning the exact assignment. However, they do seem to all agree that the four living creatures are the Evangelists. Quite interesting to me. I had never heard this in all of my Protestant years.
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« Reply #11 on: April 17, 2003, 11:42:21 PM »

Quote
Same here, especially John 6.

If you like, I can email you a RSV w/Deutercannon  Smiley.  I got it before it went out of ePrint !
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« Reply #12 on: April 18, 2003, 05:55:14 PM »

Here are some of the assignment's I have found.


Author          Human/Angel   Lion      Ox      Eagle
St. Irenaeus    Matthew       John     Luke     Mark
St. Augustine    Mark        Matthew   Luke     John
St. Jerome      Matthew       Mark     Luke     John



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« Reply #13 on: April 19, 2003, 01:11:24 AM »

Ah! I found the article that I mentioned earlier. The author is an evangelical of some sort, and the actual article is located on a site promoting atheism, but I see no major flaws with the arguments in the article itself.

http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/features/2000/barefoot1.html
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