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date: 22 July 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines the role of the cross in early Christianity, both in constituting Scripture as Scripture and as a privileged locus of scriptural interpretation. It is through the apocalyptic unveiling of Scripture by the cross that the meaning of Scripture is revealed, so that it can be read as Scripture, and the gospel proclaimed on its basis. The cross is also a particularly fertile image, expounded both through scriptural images, from the trees of Paradise to the wood that Elijah throws into the waters to recover the head of the axe; it is also an image that early Christians saw in the world around them, from the sign of Asklepios, to the imperial banners of the army, to the outstretched wings of birds. These two dimensions come together in the early paschal material, both celebrating the victory of the Cross and making Christ present in an immediate manner.

Keywords: cross, Apocalypse, Irenaeus, Ephrem, Melito, crucifixion, Easter, Eucharist, Paul, John

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