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Tassiecelt 
Posted: 11-Jan-2005, 07:53 AM
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I found it!!

The following are portions of a review of Ralph Woodrow's changed position on the cross, it's taken out of a larger document, I hope it makes sense.

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Woodrow's warning against creating a new Babylon (confusion) by making legitimate Christian symbols and rites, allegedly pagan, is relevant to our investigation of the origin of the Christian Cross. We need to be aware of the danger of deciding on the pagan nature of the Christian Cross solely on the basis of its use among pagan nations.   

The Alleged Pagan Nature of the Christian Cross             

Hislop (author of "The Two Babylons") attempts to prove that  "the Christian cross was originally no Christian emblem at all, but was the mystic Tau of the Chaldeans and Egyptians-the true original form of the letter T-the initial of the name of Tammuz. . . . The Babylonian cross was the recognized emblem of Tammuz . . . That mystic Tau was marked in baptism on the foreheads of those initiated in the Mysteries, and was used in every variety of ways as a most sacred symbol."             
To strengthen his case for the pagan origin and nature of the Christians cross, Hislop appeals also to the fact that "there is hardly a pagan tribe where the cross has not been found. The cross was worshipped by the Pagan Celts long before the incarnation and death of Christ.. . . It was worshipped in Mexico for ages before the Roman Catholic missionaries set foot there, large stone crosses being erected, probably to the 'god of rain..'"               

The widespread use of the cross in the ancient world leads Hislop to conclude that the current symbol of the Cross was brought into the church after the conversion of Constantine, by the pagan multitudes, who "flocked into the church . . .  they brought along with them their predilection for the old symbol . . . Thus, by the 'sign of the cross,'  Christ has been crucified anew by those who profess to be His disciples. Now, if these things be matterof historic fact, who can wonder that, in the Romish Church, 'the sign of the cross' has always and everywhere been seen to be such an instrument of rank superstition and delusion?"             

Summing up, Hislop contends that the Christian Cross is a pagan symbol because it derives from the mystic Tau, which was the first letter "T" and emblem of the Babylonian false messiah "Tammuz," the husband of Ishtar.  Pagans allegedly brought into the Christian church the Tau "T" cross of Tammus, the false Babylonian messiah,  when they flocked into the church during the fourth century after the conversion of Constantine.    The Worship of Tammus Was Hardly Known in Rome             

Hislop's arguments for the pagan origin of the Christian Cross, are discredited by three major historical facts. First, the  mystic  Tau "T" of the  Babylonian worship of Tammus was hardly known in the Roman world when Christianity arose. The major pagan religions that competed with Christianity for the conversion of the Roman people, were the Eastern mystery religions. But the Babylonian worship of Tammus and of his wife Ishtar was not one of them.             

The mystery religions paved the way for the presentation of the Gospel by teaching people how to live the present life in order to be resurrected to a future blessed life. The most influential mystery religions were Cybele, the Great Mother and her beloved shepherd named Attis, from Asia Minor; Isis and Osiris from Egypt; Adonis from Syrian and Palestine; and the Persian Mithras who became a great savior in the Roman empire.             
The emperors Commodus (180-192), Aurelian, Diocletian, and Julian the Apostate strongly promoted Mithraism as the religion of the Roman empire.  Ernest Renan, the French philosopher and Orientalist, expressed the opinion that had the growth of Christianity been halted in the early centuries, Mithraism would have become the religion of the modern world. In the latter part of the fourth century, the new Christian Roman empire succeeded to suppress Mithraism, but, as we shall see, many of its doctrines and practices have been adopted by the Catholic church.             
Though the mystery religions were popular in the Roman empire and in time influenced certain Catholic beliefs and practices, there are no indications that they ever used the cross as the symbol of redemption through the sacrificial death of their god. Thus, no legitimate connection can be established between the symbolic meaning of the Christian Cross and its religious use by pagan religions in the Roman empire.   

The Sign of the Cross Was Used by Christians Before Constantine             

Second, contrary to Hislop's contention, the sign of the Cross was used by Christians to express their faith long before the influx of the pagans into the church in the fourth century. The funerary inscriptions of the Catacombs provide examples of the timid use of the Cross by Christians who dared to scribble a Cross sign next to the name of a deceased loved one.             

An good example is the equilateral Cross, known as Greek Cross, that is found in the Crypts of Lucina, in the Catacomb of St. Callistus. The inscription was placed over a double grave in the early part of the third century. Beneath the names of ROUPHINA [&] EIRENE is placed an equilateral Cross, as shown in this picture:                   
De Rossi, who is rightly regarded as the authority on the  iconography and epigraphy of the Catacombs, investigated the evolution of the symbol of the Cross. He found that initially the Cross was concealed in the form of an anchor or trident  and only later was shown as a plain Cross. He explains that it was introduced "as the result of studied choice rather than as a primitive symbol linking the beginnings of Christianity with Asiatic traditions. Its genesis is reflex and studied, not primitive and spontaneous. It is well known how anxiously the early Christians sought out means whereby they could at once portray and conceal the Cross of Christ"  (Rom. Sott. Crist., II, 318).             
According to De Rossi, then, the Christian Cross derives, not from pagan Asiatic traditions as Hislop contends, but from a "studied choice" of Christians to devise creative ways to portray and yet conceal the Cross of Christ.              The reason the early Christians were reluctant to openly display the Cross is simply because among the Romans the cross never had the symbolic meaning of the ancient Orient. For the Romans the cross was simply the brutal, material instrument used for the execution of slaves and the worse criminals. For them, the notion of salvation through a crucified Savior, was, as Paul puts it "foolishness" (1 Cor 1:18, 23). Apologists, like Tertulian (about 200) found it necessary to defend the Christians from the Roman charge of staurolatria, that is, cross-worshippers. Ironically the Romans added, "id colunt quod merentur," that is, "they worship that which they deserve" ((Apology 17).             
In his Apology Justin Martyr (died 165) responds to the Roman criticism of the Christian use of the Cross, by arguing that the cross is providentially found in such objects as the sails of a ship, a plough, tools, and even in the human body with outstretched arms (Apology I, 55). The Apologists defence of the Christian Cross, presupposes that the Christian use of the Cross was the object of sarcasm and scorn by the Romans. In fact, some pagans taunted Christians for worshipping a crucified donkey-god, as the following graffiti from the Palatine building in Rome (about 200) shows:                           

The fact that pagan Romans scorned both the message of the Cross and the sign of the Cross long before Constantine made Christianity the official religion of the Roman empire, discredits Hislop's contention that the Cross is a pagan symbol brought into the church by the pagan multitudes who flocked into the church after the conversion of Constantine. The truth is that the sign of the Cross was used by Christians and was ridiculed by pagans, long before the conversion of Constantine.  How could the Roman pagans have influenced Christians to adopt the sign of the Cross, when they despised it as the shameful instrument for the execution of the worst criminals?  It is unfortunate that Hislop was so obsessed with Babylonian paganism, that he failed to examine the rejection of the symbol of the Cross by the Romans.   


In the light of the foregoing considerations, we conclude that the pagan view of the origin of the Christian Cross, promoted by Hislop and embraced by many uninformed Christians, is based on gratuitous assumptions, amply discredited by the documentary evidences.             

"Is the Christian Cross a Pagan Symbol?" Part 1
Samuele Bacchiocchi, Ph. D.,
Retired Professor of Theology and Church History,
Andrews University


Well, my views are being turned upside down, I shall have to look more at this, sorry it's so lengthy.


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DesertRose 
Posted: 17-Jan-2005, 04:36 PM
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QUOTE (Rindy1202 @ 08-Jan-2005, 05:43 PM)
This is what I came up with:

The meaning of the Celtic Cross is told in legend of Ireland's St. Patrick. He was shown a sacred standing stone that was marked with a circle. St. Patrick took this opportunity to show the union of old and new ways. He marked a cross through the circle and blessed the stone.

Slainte
Rindy

Rindy, I have heard this same meaning of the Celtic cross and agree with it.

Allen, I was like you at one time. Really worried about wearing the beautiful Celtic cross around my neck that a friend of mine from Ireland gave to me. I finally asked a Baptist minister about his thoughts on it and it was pretty much what others have said in here. I now wear it without any guilt, but of significance of my Lord who saved me, whether it was done on a cross, a tree or whatever. That whatever was old is now new. IMHO, I think as Christians some of us tend to become a little over zealous and legalistic about every single detail. There is freedom in Christ, remember?

Just my two cents.


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Tassiecelt 
Posted: 18-Jan-2005, 08:02 AM
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Well put celtic Rosie biggrin.gif

This is an amazing post that has brought significant change in my thinking as a result of reviewing my own beliefs on this issue.

As I showed in previous posts, the research I'd followed on the issue for 20 years has been shown to be wrong by the author of it.

My discovery of this has confirmed a gradual change in thinking within myself of the symbolism of the cross.
It's hard to describe, but this post has brought the same liberty in me that I know you have also experienced Rose.

so to cap it all off, here is a really nice celtic jewellery (English spelling) site:
http://www.celtarts.com/index2.htm

blessings to you all
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WizardofOwls 
Posted: 18-Jan-2005, 10:55 AM
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Hi Graham!

I am so glad that my little question here has helped you! But I'm still a little confused. I have no problem with using the cross as a symbol of my beliefs and to remind me of the sacrifice tht was given for my sake upon it. My question, though, is "In light of the information given at the beginnng of this thread, ie the card that came with my necklace, is the Celtic Cross with the symbolism described above a true Christian cross or it a pagan symbol in the guise of a Christian cross?"

Did my question make sense? I'm just not sure that the Celtic Cross and the Christian cross are the same thing....


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Aragorn 
Posted: 18-Jan-2005, 11:31 AM
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Dear brothers Graham and Allen,

May the peace and joy of Christ fill your lifes. You both have blessed me so much, thank you. To one man it is a stick to another man it is an oar. To wear a celtic cross as a representation of your love for Christ and how through his death and resurrection we are saved and delivered from sin is a worthy thing. As Graham pointed out with that lengthy post biggrin.gif , the cross is symbolic of what Christ sacrificed for us. True there are many ideas and view about the cross but to Christians it means so much more. I wish there was a necklace that represented the resurrection of Christ or of the tomb with the stone rolled away. Then we would not be uncertain as to its meaning... biggrin.gif . Just because someone whose beliefs are different then ours writes what they think it means shouldn't detour you from wearing it. Throw away that piece of paper and wear your cross dear Allen.

Hmm, Allen a worthy addition to your post. Is the celtic Cross and the Christian Cross the same thing or are the similarities just coincidental? So, is a Cross a Cross or is there some deeper meaning associated to different ones. Hmm, lets see what Graham has to say.. I am at work and do not have too much time to research this Allen.

To one and all, you touch my heart.

With the love of Christ to all.
Jim


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Siobhan Blues 
Posted: 18-Jan-2005, 05:23 PM
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QUOTE (WizardofOwls @ 18-Jan-2005, 10:55 AM)
I have no problem with using the cross as a symbol of my beliefs and to remind me of the sacrifice tht was given for my sake upon it. My question, though, is "In light of the information given at the beginnng of this thread, ie the card that came with my necklace, is the Celtic Cross with the symbolism described above a true Christian cross or it a pagan symbol in the guise of a Christian cross?"

Did my question make sense? I'm just not sure that the Celtic Cross and the Christian cross are the same thing....

Well, as someone of Irish ancestry I see the Celtic Cross as a Christianized symbol; the Irish had the symbol of the circle divided into 4 with its meaning which has been mentioned, and when Christianity came to the Celts they transformed the symbol into a Christian symbol.
To a Celtic/Irish Christian, the Celtic Cross means as much to me as a plain cross... and as a stubborn red-head, I refuse to let anyone (like that card) tell me its not a Christian symbol that I can wear proudly!

Hard-headed Siobhan!


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Tassiecelt 
Posted: 18-Jan-2005, 06:50 PM
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QUOTE
Did my question make sense? I'm just not sure that the Celtic Cross and the Christian cross are the same thing....


an interesting point and a question that will lead me further into studying this interesting question.

Only this morning I recieved the latest research from Ralph Woodrow, I'll see if he addresses this issue.

My gut response is that the celtic cross is just that, the celtic variation of the plain cross. There are many variations including the St Andrews cross that adorns the saltire.

If indeed the cross is not pagan then I would happily accept all crosses except the one that shows Jesus still on the cross because as Jim said...He is risen!! amen!
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Aragorn 
Posted: 19-Jan-2005, 11:56 AM
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Indeed Graham, Why don't they have a resurrection necklace? It is in His resurrection that our salvation was made complete. I am like you in the sense I will not wear a cross with Christ still on it. That to me represents unfinished work and He did come off the cross and Jesus now sits at the right hand of the Father. As stone sharps stone so does one person sharpen another. Please let us know what you have found brother.
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Siobhan Blues 
Posted: 24-Jan-2005, 10:50 AM
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QUOTE (Aragorn @ 19-Jan-2005, 11:56 AM)
I am like you in the sense I will not wear a cross with Christ still on it. That to me represents unfinished work and He did come off the cross and Jesus now sits at the right hand of the Father.

Hey, I feel the same way!! All of the cross necklaces I own are empty - no figure on them. The fact that the cross is empty is the significance for me too! He is indeed Risen.
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j Padraig moore 
Posted: 24-Jan-2005, 12:17 PM
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Actually, my wife will not wear any cross jewelry, simply because so many people wear crosses, and it means nothing to them. It is only jewelry.

I have a simple silver cross that I used to wear. I also have a neat wooden cross on a (wood) beaded string that is actually an air freshener I bought at Wal-Mart! It is so cool! Of course my wife does not like it, for the above listed reasons.
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Aaediwen 
Posted: 24-Jan-2005, 01:10 PM
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Indeed it is sad, the people that wear a cross but don't understand its meaning. I see it nothing less than hypocrytical for someone to be wearing a cross and speaking or acting harmfully against another person or being, even to the point of cursing or denying God. Those people need to wake up and smell the coffee.


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Keltic 
Posted: 24-Jan-2005, 01:31 PM
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QUOTE (Aaediwen @ 24-Jan-2005, 02:10 PM)
Indeed it is sad, the people that wear a cross but don't understand its meaning. I see it nothing less than hypocrytical for someone to be wearing a cross and speaking or acting harmfully against another person or being, even to the point of cursing or denying God. Those people need to wake up and smell the coffee.

As I stated before, I view symbolism as an individual view. As I look at a piece of art, I, and I alone will decide whether I like it. I don't need an "expert" to tell me what I like or believe. As for the cross, if you feel uncomfortable with it, don't wear it. If you wear a cross, it should be for your own reasons. The cross as well as all other symbols throughout history have meant and continue to mean different things to different people. The swastika is found throughout many cultures to this day and although it is an ancient symbol, due to a very short period in history, you would be shunned wearing it in today's society. Even the illumated gospels such as the Book of Kells are smattered with swastikas.

As Siobhan Blues stated, "... is the significance for me too".


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Tassiecelt 
Posted: 03-Feb-2005, 06:54 AM
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QUOTE (jpmoore @ 25-Jan-2005, 03:17 AM)
Actually, my wife will not wear any cross jewelry, simply because so many people wear crosses, and it means nothing to them. It is only jewelry.

I have a simple silver cross that I used to wear. I also have a neat wooden cross on a (wood) beaded string that is actually an air freshener I bought at Wal-Mart! It is so cool! Of course my wife does not like it, for the above listed reasons.

My wife is the same, I don't wear a cross either, but I sure am tempted when I see not only the crosses but the other beautiful jewellery at http://www.celtarts.com/
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Ríobhca31 
Posted: 15-Mar-2005, 11:14 AM
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I found this site, pretty insightful! Related to the original topic of the meaning of the Celtic Cross

http://www.celtarts.com/celtic.htm



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WizardofOwls 
Posted: 15-Mar-2005, 01:07 PM
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Nice, Becca! Thanks for sharing it with us! I can't wait to read it when I have more time!
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