The Scrolls:Johns Voice in the Wilderness

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In modern Greek it is pronounced more like A-yos. If you are familiar with the iconography of John in Russia, there is little different in Greek icons other than painting style and inscription language. You may recall that the two most common scroll inscriptions for icons of John are:.

The Judean Desert – Wilderness of Judah

Metanoeite, engiken gar he basileia ton ouranon. So we see there is nothing unusual about this image. The cross staff he holds in his hand is common in Western European paintings of John, but is not common in Russian depictions. One of the first icons I studied when I began research several decades ago was that of John the Baptist, called John the Forerunner Ioann Predtecha in icon inscriptions. Icons of John are interesting for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that they tend to mix together related images in a somewhat dream-like fashion. Why does John have wings?

That is the odd logic of icon painting. Further, John is often shown holding a kind of chalice or salver, and in it — if we see it up close — is depicted the naked child Christ, lying down. John is pointing at the Child. This again is something of a mystery to the student, until he realizes that such icons are mixing the imagery of the Bible with the imagery of the Eastern Orthodox liturgy — the equivalent of the Catholic Mass.

You see that in the detail of the right panel of a three-panel Deisus Greek Deisis set:. But before I explain further, we need one more piece of the puzzle.


In Russian icons, saints and other figures do not speak in cartoon bubbles. They speak in scrolls. So the scroll a saint holds is a kind of cartoon bubble that speaks to the viewer. In icons of John depicting a tree, we usually see, if we look closely, that there is an axe cutting into its trunk. Now we can return to the question of why John holds a chalice sometimes shown as a kind of salver with the child Jesus in it. So in icon-think, all these elements are mixed up together in one picture.

A Voice In The Wilderness

Do not expect icons to make chronological sense. Instead they work with mixing images that relate in some way, no matter what their origin.

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Again, it is somewhat the way dreams work, where one symbol associates with another, but the whole picture does not seem to make sense in the real world. So that is the knowledge essential to understanding basic icons of John. There are more complex icons, but no need to deal with those right now. It is important to remember, as I have said, that icons have their own logic, and it is a logic of association of images. It can be very complex, drawing from a great many different sources, but all one really needs to know is how this mixture presents itself in icons.

Those who have studied Jungian thought will quickly notice parallels with dream images and the concept of archetypes. Some icons of John have background scenes showing incidents from his life as found in both New Testament and apocryphal sources, for example an angel leading the child John into the wilderness, etc.

We see such scenes in this icon:. At middle left is an angel leading the child John into the wilderness; at lower left is the birth of John the Forerunner; at lower right is the beheading of John, and at upper right is the discovery of his head. By the way, notice in the example below that all of the icon surface except for the central painting is covered with ornate metal. Such adornment was common on very old icons, and yes, the metal was attached by nailing it right onto the surface.

That is why old icons, when these covers are removed, are seen to be full of little nail holes.

The Judean Desert – Wilderness of Judah

The metal covering was added as a sign of respect, though punching numerous holes in the surface of a painting may not seem so to us today. Skip to content.

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The title inscription is a bit odd in its arrangement. We see it in the upper left-hand corner: It is meant to be read from lower left to upper left to upper right.

Sverdlovsk Oblast Province , Russia In the map below, the large black dot in the circle at lower right is the city of Sverdlovsk. Today we will take a look at a later Greek icon of John: Courtesy of Jacksonsauction. Jn This section constitutes the introduction to the gospel proper and is connected with the prose inserts in the prologue. The usage reflects the atmosphere, at the end of the first century, of polemics between church and synagogue, or possibly it refers to Jews as representative of a hostile world Jn — See further the note on Jn Mal ; Mt The Prophet : probably the prophet like Moses Dt ; cf.

Acts This is a different group from that in Jn ; the priests and Levites would have been Sadducees, not Pharisees. Remain : the first use of a favorite verb in John, emphasizing the permanency of the relationship between Father and Son as here and between the Son and the Christian.

The Dead Sea Scrolls and the New Testament - Biblical Archaeology Society

Jesus is the permanent bearer of the Spirit. Some suggest that the next day, beginning at sunset, was the sabbath; they would have stayed with Jesus to avoid travel on it.

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  • Elsewhere the Greek translation christos is used. Mt Neither the Greek equivalent Petros nor, with one isolated exception, Cephas is attested as a personal name before Christian times. Mi ; Zec You is plural in Greek. Print Share Calendar Diocesan Locator. Scripture not found.