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European Science Foundation ranking A

Zeitschrift für Antikes Christentum / Journal of Ancient Christianity

Ed. by Brennecke, Hanns Christof / Drecoll, Volker Henning / Heil, Uta / Markschies, Christoph

Together with Elm, Susanna / Gemeinhardt, Peter / Meier, Mischa / Perrone, Lorenzo / Pollmann, Karla / Riedweg, Christoph / Schöllgen, Georg / Williams, Rowan / Wischmeyer, Wolfgang

3 Issues per year

CiteScore 2017: 0.14

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2017: 0.108
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2017: 0.447

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Volume 15, Issue 3


Das Mosaik „Die Begegnung Melchisedeks mit Abraham“ im Langhaus von S. Maria Maggiore in Rom und sein zeitgeschichtliches Umfeld

Gerhard Steigerwald
Published Online: 2015-04-18 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/zac.2011.25


The research in the mosaics of St. Maria Maggiore is reconsidered. The picture of Melchisedek shows him offering bread and wine to the victorious Abraham and, as a focus of the picture, the transformation of the offered gifts into a sacrifice to God and into a prototype of the high priest Christ and the eucharist that was celebrated at the altar. The hypothesis of Sabine Schrenk, however, according to which the antitype (the eucharistic gifts, bread and wine as body and blood of Christ) is already present in the picture of Melchisedek; cannot be maintained. Therefore a couple of specific motives, most of them being not observed up to now, were analyzed: Christ as high priest in the mosaic that shows Jesus in the triumphal arch and its relation to Melchisedek as high priest, God-Father turning to Melchisedek (and not to his gifts) and the dealing with the eucharist in a prominent place. These observations lead to the result that the thematic background of the mosaic can be seen in the Christological controversy, esp. the struggle against Nestorius, patriarch of Constantinople (428-431). The series of mosaics of the triumph arch can be interpreted as a Christological concept. Thus the pope Xystus III (432-440) demonstrated his theology stressing the divinity of the child Jesus against the Christological concept of Nestorius. The mosaic with Melchisedek pursues this Christological intention, the mosaics of the triumph arch and the mosaic with Melchisedek are a thematic unity.

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Published Online: 2015-04-18

Published in Print: 2011-09-01

Citation Information: Zeitschrift für Antikes Christentum / Journal of Ancient Christianity, Volume 15, Issue 3, Pages 498–531, ISSN (Online) 1612-961X, ISSN (Print) 0949-9571, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/zac.2011.25.

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