As Christianity expanded and developed in the Roman Empire it would use pagan images and symbols to express Christian theology – Christ as the Good Shepherd, Christ as the Philosopher, Christ as the Unconquered Sun. But the Christians did not simply adopt these images, they gave to them particularly Christian meanings to show how the message of Christ was different that anything that had ever happened before.
Image: Image of Christ as Sol Invictus in the Tomb of the Julii
Via Saleria Sarcophagus showing Christ as the Philosopher and as the Good Shepherd
Sarcophagus showing Jesus Christ as philosopher raising Lazarus from the dead
Coin of Vespasian with image of Sol
Coin of Caracalla with image of Sol Invictus
Coin of Probus with image of Sol Invictus
Image of Apollo riding chariot at Orbe Bosceaz, Switzerland
More information about the Tomb of the Julii/Mausoleum M and Saint Peter’s Basilica – including map of the necropolis
Steven Hijmans – “Christ or Sol in Mausoleum M of the Vatican Necropolis?”
Robin M Jensen, “Towards a Christian Material Culture”, The Cambridge History of Christianity: Origins to Constantine, Vol 1, New York: Cambridge, 2006, pp. 568-589.
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#328 – A History of the Catholic Church – Sol Invictus