The olive branch is usually a symbol of peace or victory and was historically worn by brides and virgins. This symbol, deriving from the customs of Ancient Greece, is strongest in Western culture. However, it has been found in every culture and religion to thrive in the Mediterranean basin.
Tertullian (c.160 - c.220) compared Noah's dove in the Hebrew Bible, who "announced to the world the assuagement of divine wrath, when she had been sent out of the ark and returned with the olive branch". with the Holy Spirit in baptism "bringing us the peace of God, sent out from the heavens". In his 4th century Latin translation of the story of Noah, St Jerome rendered "leaf of olive" (Hebrew alay zayit) in Genesis 8:11 as "branch of olive" (Latin ramum olivae). In the 5th century, by which time a dove with an olive branch had become established as a Christian symbol of peace, St Augustine wrote in On Christian Doctrine that, "perpetual peace is indicated by the olive branch (oleae ramusculo) which the dove brought with it when it returned to the ark." However, in Jewish tradition there is no reference to an olive branch in the story of the Flood and no association of the olive leaf with peace.
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Category: Peace Symbols.
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A number of peace symbols have been used in various cultures and contexts, one of the most ancient being the olive branch. The symbol of the dove and olive branch was used by early Christians and was… read more »