Thursday, March 5, 2009
How Christians Poached "Pagan" Images
Overview article at BAR Online: Borrowing from the Neighbors: Pagan Imagery in Christian Art by Sarah K. Yeomans: The use by the Christians of pagan sacred imagery is not necessarily confined solely to the Greco-Roman world. The cultural and religious syncretism that took place in Greek and Roman society with other, even older civilizations meant that many early Christians had a wealth of artistic examples that may have originated outside of their immediate cultural landscape. One example is an Egyptian artistic motif: Scholars have long hypothesized that the image of Mary nursing or holding the Christ child close to her breast is an iconographic image borrowed from the ancient Egyptian motif of the goddess Isis nursing the infant Horus.