Why Christians Use Pagan Art Essay

770 Words May 16th, 2016 4 Pages
Borrowing ideas from other sources can date back centuries, it can even be seen in art. Early Christianity had no idea on how to portray Jesus so having no clear image of what Jesus actually looked like lead them to rely on pagan art. Borrowing of pagan art can be seen when looking at a portrait of Jesus because their image of is based on the pagan gods Hermes and Apollo. There are two main reasons why Christians use pagan art to create their image of Jesus. The first one being that they wanted to create a picture that represented their faith, but had nothing to go on, which resulted in them using pagan art ideas. The second reason was that Christianity was illegal and anyone using it would be persecuted by the Roman government. So the Christian’s needed art that could inspire them to their faith without it being so obvious that it would give them away to the roman agents. Choosing pagan gods to be the basis of their portrait of Jesus was not a coincidence, they chose them because they have many symbolic similarities. Symbolic similarities between the pagan gods and Jesus allowed Christians to practice their religion with less risks. The reason there were less risks when practicing their religion was because the first images Christians developed for Jesus could have been easily mistaken for those of Apollo. One of the images in which pagan art can be seen is in the catacomb painting named The Good Shepherd, Orants, and the story of Jonah. For Christians this painting…

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