Religion Past and Present

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(320 words)

[German Version]

from the perspective of art history. Primary avian symbol in the Bible and Christian art. The fundamental significance of the dove is as a symbol for the soul, purification, and the Holy Spirit. In the Hebrew Bible, Noah sent a dove in search of dry land after the Flood. It returned with an olive branch in its beak, evidence that the flood waters had receded. This became the universal sign of peace (Gen 8:11).

The sacrifice of doves was appropriate for the ritual purification of a newborn child according to the law of Moses, while the imagery of seven …

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Apostolos-Cappadona, Diane, “Dove,”, in: Religion Past and Present. Consulted online on 20 July 2024 <>
First published online: 2011
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004146662, 2006-2013

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