Imagine the dangerous life of a First Century Christian. You've embraced your newfound faith in Christ but fear the risk of persecution or death at the hands of the pagans living around you. Then a trusted friend tells you about some of Jesus followers who secretly meet. He whispers into your ear, Look for a fish carved into the entranceway to the burialchambers beside the Via Tiburtina. You smile in gratitude.
Comparatively, modern society is awash in those same Christian symbols that kept early Christians safely connected: they appear on churches, bumper stickers, mugs even mints and stuffed animals. Yet, we are often ignorant of the origins of these symbols having lost the urgency of our spiritual ancestors hostile environment.
Noted Catholic author, historian and Scripture scholar Mike Aquilina conducts an intriguing tour of symbols that guided the first four centuries of the Church s existence. He explains how Christians borrowed pagan and Jewish symbols, giving them new, distinctly Christian meanings. Recover the voice and urgency of our spiritual ancestors symbolic language and discover the impact the symbols still have.
Black and white illustrations by Lea Ravotti of artifacts uncovered throughout the Middle East beautifully complement the text, showing the variety of contexts in which they were found and the range of skills displayed in their execution.
"Mike Aquilina's Signs and Mysteries provides a popular yet academically rigorous guide to symbols in the early church. The immediately accessible prose -- which quotes thoughtfully from the church fathers, classical and Jewish sources -- is complemented by generous illustrations. He has not only drawn on the obvious archaeological and epigraphic record, he has also delved into the fascinating world of Christian graffiti. An essential book to keep to hand when visiting early Christian sites." --Adrian Murdoch Fellow, British Royal Historical Society
Mike Aquilina is a noted Catholic Scripture scholar, apologist and author or editor of more than a dozen books on Catholic history, doctrine, and devotion. He is vice president of the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology based in Steubenville, Ohio. Mike is co-host, with Scott Hahn, of “The Lamb’s Supper” (2001), “Hail, Holy Queen” (2002), “First Comes Love” (2003), “Lord, Have Mercy” (2004), and “Swear to God” (2005) — all airing on EWTN. He also appears regularly as a panelist on "The Weekly Roman Observer," broadcast by Catholic Family Network.
Mike's career in publishing spans two decades, and hundreds of his articles have appeared in many periodicals and journals in the United States and abroad. He also runs the popular website Fathers of the Church dot com.
Detailed introduction to Christian symbols and the early Church
Mike Aquilina’s Signs and Mysteries: Revealing Ancient Christian Symbols is a quick read that provides a comprehensive foundation for further investigation into Christian symbolism. I was given a review copy of the book before a family trip that included many museums full of medieval art, and I found it to be a helpful overview for me and my older children.
Aquilina excels at writing about the early Christians in a way that makes them seem like long-lost relatives. This book is informative without being too academic in tone for a popular audience. As he says in the introduction, “This is not a work of scholarship, but an act of devotion - an act of piety towards our ancestors, so that we might learn to see the world once Full Review...
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