The words Agnus Dei mean “Lamb of God” and to understand them we must contextualize them within the tradition of Christianity. What is Agnus Dei?
The lamb in symbology, art and Christian liturgy
In Christian art from the early Christian and medieval period, the lamb is something more than a simple animal , as it symbolically represents Jesus Christ. In this sense, one of the biblical references that describes Jesus as the “Lamb of God” appears in the passage of his baptized in the Jordan River, where John the Baptist said “Behold the Lamb of God” (John 1: 25-37). Following this tradition, Paul refers to Jesus as “Christ, our paschal lamb.” The liturgy mentions it too, but specifically when it refers to the “Lamb who takes away the sins of the world” (John 1:29-36).
Also, during the Middle Ages, the image of the resurrected Jesus Christ had the appearance of a lamb. It should be noted, on the other hand, that in the sacred texts of Judaism a lamb is sacrificed during the Passover.
Although the lamb is one of the ways to represent Jesus Christ, at the same time it represents the concept of virtue, as it is a tame animal and this characteristic serves as an ideal model that should be the human being in relation to God, that is, a humble person guided by the Creator. What is Agnus Dei?
On the other hand, it should be noted that the Hebrews are especially dedicated to shepherding, so the lambs needed a shepherd; an exorbitant circumstance in the relationship between humanity (the flock) and Jesus Christ (the good shepherd). What is Agnus Dei?
The animal world in the Bible and medieval Christian tradition
In the Bible, animals are used to express ideas and there are many examples that illustrate the binomial animal-idea in the Gospels (the example of the serpent symbolizing evil in the landscape over the earthly paradise is the best known). On the other hand, it should be noted that the Bible talks about pure and impure animals, that is, they can eat and those that cannot. Among the first, we can highlight the donkey, the lamb and some birds. Among the unclean are the pig, the hare and the camel. What is Agnus Dei?
The leading role of animals in the Christian tradition continued in the Middle Ages, especially through medieval bestiaries, a literary genre in which the animal world becomes an allegory to reflect on human values . What is Agnus Dei?