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Christ Proclaiming His Law To The Apostles: The Traditio Legis-Motif In Early Christian Art And Literature

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Chapter Summary

The earliest examples of Christian art, mainly found in the catacombs of Rome, represent well-known figures and narratives from the Old and New Testament. Around the middle of the fourth century new motifs appear. Some of these are related to biblical texts. Central among the new iconographic themes is the so-called traditio Legis-motif. This name has since 1858 been used of a group of compositions showing Christ, flanked by Peter and Paul. The only New Testament text which focuses on Peter and Paul in juxtaposition is Gal 2:7-9 where the Jerusalem leaders recognize that Paul had been "entrusted with the gospel for the uncircumcised, just as Peter had been entrusted with the gospel for the circumcised. In this way the two apostles are representing the whole church of believing Jews and Gentiles.

Keywords: Christian art; New Testament; Paul; Peter; Rome; traditioLegis-motif



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