The Cross is the most potent and recognisable symbol of civilized society, but what are its historical origins? What is the evidence for its actual, physical existence? In a small church in Rome, a tiny neglected artefact, hidden for hundreds of years, may hold the answer to these questions.
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CARSTEN PETER THIEDE, German papyrologist, who ran the Institute of German Studies in London, produced documentaries for BBC TV and is now director of the Institute for Basic Epistemological Research at Paderborn, Germany. MATTHEW D'ANCONA, formerly a senior editor on The Times, is now deputy editor of the Sunday Telegraph.From Publishers Weekly:
When did Christians begin to venerate the cross of Jesus? Thiede and d'Ancona, who stirred up controversy about the dating of the Gospels in The Jesus Papyrus, challenge the prevailing scholarly opinion that the cross became a central symbol only after the emperor Constantine adopted Christianity as the official religion of the Roman Empire in the fourth century. According to legend, Constantine sent his mother to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, where she excavated and brought back to Rome the Titulus Crucis, or the headboard of the cross on which was written the words "King of the Jews." Using philological, literary and archeological evidence, the authors argue against this legend, claiming instead that the earliest Christians must have begun a tradition of venerating Jesus' cross. For example, they find the Chi-Rho symbol in papyri from the second century, and on a shard from Bethsaida from the first century. In their view, such discoveries support the claim that the cross functioned as a key symbol in pre-Constantinian Christianity. In addition, the authors discover the Titulus Crucis in a church in Rome and use the same tools to suggest a "plausible if unprovable" chronology of the life of this relic. Unfortunately, the book's tone is often arrogant and condescending to any scholars who hold beliefs other than the authors'. Moreover, it is plagued by so much repetition that it would have been more appropriate as a journal article. Overall, the authors' case appears rather thin, using scanty evidence to make definitive assertions about the True Cross.
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Book Description Phoenix (an Imprint of The Orion Publishing Group Ltd ), 2000. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # M0753810824