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Daniel

(2,323 words)

Author(s): Jensen, Robin M.
Depictions of the biblical Daniel featured prominently in early Christian art. Daniel represented the resolute martyr who accepted a sentence of death rather than succumbing to idolatry (Dan 6) and as such prefigured the steadfast Christian whose stanch faith would be rewarded in the next life. The story of Daniel’s captivity, endurance, and unwavering witness shared elements with Christian martyr narratives, not least in the fact that Daniel’s fate – being condemned to the beasts – was like tha…
Date: 2020-09-21

David

(2,229 words)

Author(s): Jensen, Robin M.
David is a central figure in much of early Christian literature. He is the youthful shepherd, destroyer of the evil Goliath, singer of songs, prototypical king, prophet, and ancestor of Jesus. Both the New Testament Gospels and Epistles proclaimed Jesus to be descended from the line of David, specifically through the line of Mary or Joseph (e.g. Rom 1:3; 2 Tim 2:8; Matt 1:1; Mark 10:47; Luke 1:27; John 7:42; Rev 22:16). This lineage continued to be emphasized by the next generation of Christian teachers (e.g. Ign. Eph. 18.2). Based upon this foundation, subsequent Christian writer…
Date: 2020-09-21

Phoenix

(2,322 words)

Author(s): Jensen, Robin M.
From antiquity to the present, this mythical, long-lived bird has been a widely recognized symbol of rebirth and renewal. Although classical texts, Christian commentaries, and medieval bestiaries often link the Phoenix with the sacred benu bird, Egyptian worship of the sun god (Ra), and the Egyptian city of Heliopolis, other literary and iconographic evidence connect it also to India, Arabia, Syria, or China. Versions differ widely in their details but generally report that when the Phoenix reaches the end of its exceptionally l…
Date: 2020-09-21

Ascension of Christ

(2,968 words)

Author(s): Jensen, Robin M.
According to the longer ending of Mark 16:19, Luke 24:51, and Acts 1:9–11, Jesus was carried up to heaven after having appeared on earth for a certain length of time after his resurrection (Acts alone specifies 40 days). Acts, which offers the most detailed narrative, describes Jesus rising and disappearing in a cloud and the appearance of two men in white who ask the apostles why they are gazing up into heaven. Acts 1:12 implies that the ascension took place on the Mount of Olives, consistent w…
Date: 2020-09-21