Brill Encyclopedia of Early Christianity Online

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Deer appear most frequently in late ancient Christian discourse in one of three ways: as representatives of pastoral calm, as figures of the hunt, and as the archenemy of venomous snakes and scorpions. The imagery offered by these tropes gave early Christians fertile material for offering spiritual exhortation, lifting up moral exemplars, and creatively crafting imagery for Christ and God.

Deer as Pastoral Symbols

As the centerpiece of pastoral…

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Meyer, Eric Daryl, “Deer”, in: Brill Encyclopedia of Early Christianity Online, General Editor David G. Hunter, Paul J.J. van Geest, Bert Jan Lietaert Peerbolte. Consulted online on 07 December 2023 <>
First published online: 2018

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