Hebrew Scripture Images

In this article you will find information related to the Hebrew scripture or OId Testament images on the Irish High Crosses.  The article includes, in order of appearance:  

Introduction

Categories of Hebrew Scripture Images 

Distribution of Hebrew Scripture Images

The Top Ten Hebrew Scripture Images

Crosses with Hebrew Scripture Images: By Subject 

Crosses with Hebrew Scripture Images:  By Name of Cross

Introduction

The Irish High Crosses were the product of Christian communities in Ireland between the late 8th century and about 1200 C.E.  For the Early Christian community the Hebrew scriptures were their only scriptures.  Therefore, as early Christians sought to understand who Jesus was and what his death and resurrection meant, they turned to the Hebrew scriptures searching for answers.  In many of the stories of the Hebrew bible they found references to God’s salvation and in some they found what they interpreted as pre-figurations of Christ’s death and resurrection.  It is, therefore, to be expected that where figural scenes were employed by those who planned and carved these crosses, some of them would reflect the content of the Hebrew scriptures, commonly known as the Old Testament.  This is, in fact, the case.

Boho Cross, County Fermanagh, Ireland

There are 47 Irish High Crosses that have been identified as having at least one Hebrew scripture image.  Of the 235 total crosses identified by Peter Harbison, these crosses represent 1 in 5 of the Irish High Crosses.  Those are the crosses focused on here.  The information below is based exclusively on the work of Dr. Peter Harbison in his epic tome The High Crosses of Ireland. 

Harbison, Peter; The High Crosses of Ireland:  An Iconographical and Photographic Survey, Dr. Rudolf Habelt GMBH, Bonn, 1992.  Volume 1:  Text, Volume 2:  Photographic Survey; Volume 3:  Illustrations of Comparative Iconography.

It should be noted that the 235 crosses identified by Harbison include in-tact crosses, damaged or broken crosses and cross fragments.  We know that some crosses have been lost to time and destruction.  This means we have almost certainly lost some figural images, even on the crosses we still have.  Beside this there are images on some of the crosses that cannot even be guessed at due to deterioration.  Adding to the difficulty is that some scholars have made different identifications of some of the Hebrew scripture figural images than those made by Harbison.    Inferences can only be drawn form the crosses we have.

The Cross pictured above is the Boho Cross in County Fermanagh.

Note:  Below are most of the tentative conclusions I have reached.  The data is found in the other sections of this article.  All of my tentative conclusions are underlined.

Peter Harbison, at least tentatively, identifies a total of 167 Hebrew scripture images on the Irish High Crosses.  This is compared to 224 Christian scripture images.  (See the next essay.) There are 47 different crosses that depict Hebrew scripture texts and 74 that depict Christian scripture images.

Hebrew scripture images appear 167 times on the Irish High Crosses.  Seventy four of these appear on on the 10 crosses with the largest number of Hebrew scripture images and 116 appear on the 20 crosses with the most Hebrew scripture images.  This represents about 1 in 9 of the total number of Irish High Crosses.

Among the 47 crosses with Hebrew scripture images there are 36 different subjects represented.

These 36 images represent 9 different books of the Hebrew scriptures.  Genesis and First Samuel provide 23 of these 36 different images.  This suggests that the Pentateuch and the Historical books of the Hebrew bible provide the majority of the images.  If we take the David cycle images together, they are the most prevalent of the images on the crosses with 44 appearances.  However, they represent several different biblical stories.

Of these 36 different figural images, 13 of them may not appear at all on the crosses as on each of the crosses on which these images have been identified that identification is questionable.

Looking at the 10 crosses with the greatest number of Hebrew scripture images, it is surprising that the Monasterboice Tall Cross, which has the most Hebrew scripture images, has only 3 of the most frequently used images.  In contrast, crosses 2-5 each have half or more of the top 10 images.  Crosses 6-10 have fewer images overall but on each cross, with the exception of number 9, half or more of the images they contain are among the top 10 Hebrew scripture images.

The Cross pictured above is a drawing of the head of the Ullard Cross in County Kilkenny.  It appears on the descriptive plaque at the site.

What parts of the Hebrew scriptures are emphasized by the images on the High Crosses?  The stories of the Fall (taken together 33 appearances on 31 crosses), the Sacrifice of Isaac (22 appearances on 22 crosses) and the Three Children in the Fiery Furnace (18 appearances on 16 crosses) are depicted most frequently.  Theologically the Fall representes the problem of brokenness and alienation that the Christ event is seen to heal.  The Sacrifice of Isaac was seen as a pre-figuration of the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Christ.  The Three Children in the Fiery Furnace represents God’s protection of the faithful.

Categories of Hebrew Scripture Images

There a total of 167 images related to the Hebrew scriptures that Harbison at least tentatively identifies on the Irish High Crosses.  This is compared to 224 images related to the Christian scriptures.  (See next essay.)  There are 47 different crosses with Hebrew scripture texts depicted and 74 crosses with images from the Christian scripture images.

Among the 47 crosses with Hebrew scripture images there are 36 different subjects represented.  These can be organized in several different categories as follows.

 1.  By the Book of the Bible:  

  • Genesis 12 images 
  • Exodus 4 images 
  • Judges 1 image 
  • First Samuel 11 images 
  • Second Samuel 2 images 
  • First Kings 1 image 
  • Second Kings 1 image 
  • Second Chronicles 1 image 
  • Daniel 3 images.  

There are 9 different books of the Hebrew scriptures represented by images on the Irish High Crosses.  Genesis and First Samuel provide 23 of the 36 different images from the Hebrew scriptures on Irish High Crosses.

West Cross, Old Kilcullen, County Kildare, Ireland2.  By the type of biblical literature:

Christians typically divide the Hebrew scriptures into four different types of literature:  Pentateuch (the first five books of the Bible), Historical, Wisdom, and Prophetic.  Using these divisions we find: 

  • Pentateuch, 16 images  
  • Historical, 17 images 
  • Prophetic, 3 images 

The 3 images from the Book of Daniel represent the Prophetic literature, although from the Hebrew point of view Daniel is one of the writings that is classified as Historical.  Looked at in this way the Pentateuch and Historical books provide the primary content of the Hebrew scripture images on the Irish High Crosses.  

The Cross pictured to the right is the West Cross Shaft at Old Kilcullen in County Kildare.  

3.  By the particular story or cycle depicted:

There is a third way of looking at these images, based on the prevalence of particular stories.

  • Creation Story, 2 images
  • The Fall, 4 images
  • The Joseph cycle, 3 images
  • The Exodus, 4 images
  • The David cycle, 12 images
  • The Exile, 3 images
  • Stories with 1 image only:  Cain kills Abel, Noah’s Ark, the Sacrifice of Isaac, Samson rends the pillars of the house, the Judgment of Solomon, Elijah ascends to heaven and the Repentance of Manasseh.

Looked at in this way the David cycle is the most prevalent of the images on the Irish High Crosses.

These stories and their themes continue to be central to the Christian understanding of the story of the Hebrew people in biblical times and to their understanding of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus the Christ.  Most of these stories are told in church school and worship on a regular basis and form a kind of Readers Digest version of the Hebrew scriptures.

4.  By the frequency of a given image:  

There is a fourth way of looking at these images, based on the prevalence of particular stories.  This will be discussed below in the section titled:  The Top Ten Hebrew Scripture Images.

In addition, a listing of each image and the crosses each appears on is listed below in Crosses with Hebrew Scripture Images: By Subject.   

Distribution of Hebrew Scripture Images

Southeast Cross, Lorrha, County Tipperary, Ireland

The 10 crosses with the largest number of Hebrew scripture images are:

  1. Monasterboice, Tall Cross,              12 images 
  2. Kells, Market Cross                         11 images
  3. Arboe,                                               7 images
  4. Armagh,                                            7 images
  5. Donaghmore/Down,                          7 images
  6. Castledermot, South Cross,              6 images
  7. Clones,                                              6 images
  8. Durrow Cross,                                   6 images
  9. Kells, Broken Cross,                          6 images
  10. Kells, Patrick and Columba Cross,    6 images

The Cross pictured to the right is the Southeast Cross at Lorrha in County Tipperary.

Hebrew scripture images appear 167 times on the Irish High Crosses.  Seventy four of thse are on the 10 crosses with the largest number of Hebrew scripture images.  The top 20 of the 47 crosses bearing Hebrew scripture images contain 116 of the 167 images.  This is about 1 in 12 of the total number of Irish High Crosses.  Thirteen of these 47 crosses contain just one image.  Another 8 crosses have just 2 images.  As seen above, only 10 of the 47 crosses contain 6 or more Hebrew scripture images.

Tall Cross Monasterboice, County Louth, Ireland

A more detailed assessment of the images on the top 10 crosses above follows.

1. Monasterboice, Tall Cross, 12 images 

  • Sacrifice of Isaac
  • Moses Smites Water from the Rock
  • Samson Rends the Pillars of the House
  • Samuel Anoints David
  • David Slays the Lion
  • David with Head of Goliath
  • David Acclaimed King
  • David as King
  • Elijah Ascends to Heaven
  • Repentance of Manasseh
  • Three Children in the Fiery Furnace
  • Three Children in the Fiery Furnace

The Cross pictured to the right is the Tall Cross at Monasterboice in County Louth.

According to the Books of the Bible, the images on this cross represents 8 of the 9 books of Hebrew scripture depicted on the crosses:

Genesis, 1 image; Exodus 1 image,  Judges 1 image, 1 Samuel 3 images, 2 Samuel 2 images, 2 Kings 1 image, 2 Chronicles 1 image and Daniel 2 of the same image.

According to the type of literature the Historical books predominate with 8 of the 11 different images on this cross.  There are 2 images from the Pentateuch, 8 from the Historical books and 2 of the same image from the Prophetic books.

According to individual stories or cycles, the David cycle is the only series represented by more than 1 image (except for the 2 appearances on the same cross of the Three Children in the Fiery Furnace).

Related to the top 10 images represented on the crosses, only 4 of the 10 are represented.  Most interestingly there is no image representing any aspect of the Fall.

Market Cross, Kells, County Meath, Ireland

2. Kells, Market Cross 11

  • Adam and Eve Know their Nakedness
  • Adam and Eve at Labor
  • Cain Kills Abel
  • Sacrifice of Isaac
  • Pillar of Fire
  • Samuel Anoints David
  • David as Musician
  • David Slays the Lion
  • David Acclaimed King
  • Judgment of Solomon
  • Three Children in the Fiery Furnace

The Cross pictured to the right is the Market Cross at Kells in County Meath.

According to the Books of the Bible, the images on this cross represents 5 of the 9 books of Hebrew scripture depicted on the crosses:

Genesis 4 images; Exodus 1 image, 1 Samuel 3 images, 2 Samuel 1 image, 1 Kings 1 image, and Daniel 1 image.

According to the type of literature there is a balance between images from the Pentateuch and the Historical books   There are 5 images from the Pentateuch, 5 from the Historical books and 1 from the Prophetic books.

According to individual stories or cycles, the David cycle is predominant.

The Fall 2 images, the David cycle 4 images.

Related to the top 10 images represented on the crosses, 5 of the 10 are represented.

Arboe Cross, County Tyrone, Northern Ireland

3. Arboe, 7

  • Adam and Eve Know their Nakedness
  • Cain Kills Abel
  • Sacrifice of Isaac
  • David Slays the Lion
  • David and Goliath
  • Three Children in the Fiery Furnace
  • Three Children in the Fiery Furnace

The Cross pictured to the right is the Arboe Cross in County Tyrone.

According to the Books of the Bible, the images on this cross represents 3 of the 9 books of Hebrew scripture depicted on the crosses:

Genesis 3 images, 1 Samuel 2 images, and Daniel 2 of the same image..

According to the type of literature there is a balance between images from the Pentateuch, the Historical books, and the Prophetic books.   There are 3 images from the Pentateuch, 2 from the Historical books and 2 from the Prophetic books.

According to individual stories or cycles, the David cycle and the Children in the Fiery furnace both appear in two images.

Related to the top 10 images represented on the crosses, 6 of the 10 are represented.  More importantly, each Hebrew scripture image on this cross is among the top 10 images.

   4. Armagh, 7

  • Adam and Eve Know their Nakedness
  • Cain Kills Abel
  • Noah’s Ark
  • Sacrifice of Isaac
  • David Slays the Lion
  • David and Goliath
  • Three Children in the Fiery Furnace

The cross to the right is the Armagh Cross in County Armagh.  The photo is from Peter Harbison, 1992, Volume 2.

According to the Books of the Bible, the images on this cross represents 3 of the 9 books of Hebrew scripture depicted on the crosses:

Genesis 4 images, 1 Samuel 2 images, and Daniel 1 image..

According to the type of literature the Pentateuch is best represented.   There are 4 images from the Pentateuch, 2 from the Historical books and 1 from the Prophetic books.

According to individual stories or cycles, the David cycle is the only one to be represented by more than 1 image.

Related to the top 10 images represented on the crosses, 7 of the 10 are represented.  More importantly, each Hebrew scripture image on this cross is among the top 10 images.

5. Donaghmore/Down, 7

  • Adam and Eve Know their Nakedness
  • Noah’s Ark
  • Sacrifice of Isaac
  • Moses Smites Water from the Rock
  • David Slays the Lion
  • David and Goliath
  • David with Head of Goliath

The Cross pictured to the right is the Donaghmore Cross in County Down.  The photo is from Peter Harbison, 1992, Volume 2.

According to the Books of the Bible, the images on this cross represents 3 of the 9 books of Hebrew scripture depicted on the crosses:

Genesis 3 images, Exodus 1 image, 1 Samuel 3 images.

According to the type of literature there is a balance between the  Pentateuch and the Historical books.   There are 4 images from the Pentateuch and 3 from the Historical.

According to individual stories or cycles, the David cycle is the only one to be represented by more than 1 image.

South Cross, Castledermot, County Kildare, Ireland

Related to the top 10 images represented on the crosses, 5 of the 10 are represented.

6. Castledermot, South Cross, 6

  • Eve gives Adam the Apple
  • Sacrifice of Isaac
  • David as Musician
  • David and Goliath
  • David slays Goliath
  • Daniel in the Lions’ Den

The Cross pictured to the right is the South Cross at Castledermot in County Kildare.

According to the Books of the Bible, the images on this cross represents 3 of the 9 books of Hebrew scripture depicted on the crosses:

Genesis 2 images, Samuel 3 images, Daniel 1 image.

According to the type of literature three of the four types are represented.   There are 2 images from the Pentateuch, 3 from the Historical and 1 from the Prophetic.

According to individual stories or cycles, the David cycle is the only one to be represented by more than 1 image.  David cycle images represent half of the Hebrew scripture images on this cross.

Related to the top 10 images represented on the crosses, 5 of the 10 are represented.  More importantly all of the Hebrew scripture images on this cross are among the top 10.

7. Clones, 6

  • Adam and Eve Know their Nakedness
  • Cain kills Abel
  • Sacrifice of Isaac
  • Joseph Interprets Dream of Pharaoh’s Butler
  • Daniel in the Lions’ Den
  • Daniel in the Lions’ Den

The Cross to the right is the Clones Cross in County Leitrim.  Photo from Harbison, 1992, vol. 2.

According to the Books of the Bible, the images on this cross represents 2 of the 9 books of Hebrew scripture depicted on the crosses:

Genesis 4 images, Daniel 2 images.

According to the type of literature the Pentateuch is predominant.   There are 4 images from the Pentateuch and 2 of the same image from the Prophetic.

According to individual stories or cycles, Daniel in the Lions’ Den is the only story with 2 images.

Related to the top 10 images represented on the crosses, 4 of the 10 are represented.

8. Durrow Cross, 6

  • Eve Gives Adam the Apple
  • Cain kills Abel
  • Sacrifice of Isaac
  • David as Musician
  • David slays the Lion
  • David as King

The cross pictured to the right is the Durrow Cross in County Offaly. The photo is from Peter Harbison, 1992, Volume 2.

According to the Books of the Bible, the images on this cross represents 2 of the 9 books of Hebrew scripture depicted on the crosses:

Genesis 3 images, 1 Samuel 2 images and 1 image with unspecified text.

According to the type of literature there is a balance between the Pentateuch and the Historical books.   

There are 3 images from the Pentateuch and 3 from the Historical books.

According to individual stories or cycles, the David cycle represents half of the Hebrew scripture images on this cross.

Related to the top 10 images represented on the crosses, 5 of the 10 are represented.

Broken Cross, Kells, County Meath, Ireland

9. Kells, Broken Cross, 6

  • Adam and Eve Know their Nakedness
  • Noah’s Ark
  • Moses turns the Nile to Blood
  • Pillar of Fire
  • Passage Through the Red Sea
  • Three Children in the Fiery Furnace

The Cross pictured to the right is the Broken Cross at Kells in County Meath.

According to the Books of the Bible, the images on this cross represents 3 of the 9 books of Hebrew scripture depicted on the crosses:

Genesis 2 images, Exodus 3 images and Daniel 1 image.

According to the type of literature the focus is on the Pentateuch.

There are 5 images from the Pentateuch and only 1 from the Prophetic books.

According to individual stories or cycles, the Exodus cycle is predominant.  There are 3 images representing this story.

Patrick and Columba Cross, Kells, County Meath, Ireland

Related to the top 10 images represented on the crosses, 3 of the 10 are represented.

10. Kells, Patrick and Columba Cross, 6

  • Adam and Eve Know their Nakedness
  • Cain Kills Abel
  • Sacrifice of Isaac
  • David Plays for Saul
  • David slays the Lion
  • Three Children in the Fiery Furnace

The Cross pictured to the right is the Cross of Patrick and Columba at Kells in County Meath.

According to the Books of the Bible, the images on this cross represents 3 of the 9 books of Hebrew scripture depicted on the crosses:

Genesis 3 images, 1 Samuel 2 images and Daniel 1 image.

According to the type of literature there is a slight preference for the Pentateuch.

There are 3 images from the Pentateuch, 2 from the Historical books and 1 from the Prophetic books.

According to individual stories or cycles, the David cycle, with 2 images, is the only one with more than 1 image. 

Related to the top 10 images represented on the crosses, 5 of the 10 are represented.

The Top Ten Hebrew Scripture Images

What parts of the Hebrew scriptures are emphasized by the images on the High Crosses?  Considering the top 10 images listed below, it appears that the stories of the Fall, the Sacrifice of Isaac and the Three Children in the Fiery Furnace predominate.

The 10 most frequently used images are:

  1. Sacrifice of Isaac                          22 appearances & crosses
  2. Fiery Furnace                               17 appearances & 15 crosses
  3. Adam and Eve know nakedness  17 appearances & crosses
  4. Eve gives Adam the Apple           13 appearances & crosses
  5. David slays the lion                      13 appearances & crosses
  6. Cain kills Abel                               12 appearances & crosses
  7. Noah’s Ark                                      8 appearances & crosses
  8. David as Musician                          8 appearances & crosses
  9. Daniel in the Lions’ Den                   9 appearances & 8 crosses
  10. David and Goliath (general)           6 appearances & crosses

The top 10 list above may be a bit misleading.  Consider the following:  

  • All images related to the Fall, 33 appearances
  • All David Cycle images, 44 appearances
  • All David and Goliath images within the David cycle, 12 appearances
Killamery Cross, County Kilkenny, Ireland

Of these 36 different figural images, 13 of them may not appear at all on the crosses as on each of the crosses on which the image has been identified the identification is questionable.  A (?) before the name of a cross in the index below indicates that the identification of this image is not clear.  These images are:

  • Adam Names the Animals
  • God Reproves Adam
  • Adam and Eve at Labor
  • Joseph Interprets Dream of Pharaoh’s butler
  • Chief Butler gives cup to Pharaoh
  • Samuel anoints Saul or David
  • Summoning of David
  • David plays before Saul
  • David as Shepherd
  • David arms himself
  • David Acclaimed King
  • Judgment of Solomon
  • Repentance of Manasseh

The Cross pictured to the right is the Killamery Cross in County Kilkenny.  It may or may not have an image of Adam and Eve at labor.

The number of top ten most frequently used Hebrew scripture images on the 10 crosses with the most Hebrew scripture images above are:

  • Monasterboice, Tall Cross,                  12 images, 4 of top 10 images
  • 2. Kells, Market Cross                          11 images, 5 of top 10 images
  • 3. Arboe,                                              7 images, 6 of top 10 images
  • 4. Armagh,                                           7 images, 6 of top 10 images
  • 5. Donaghmore/Down,                         7 images, 5 of top 10 images, 2 David & Goliath
  • 6. Castledermot, South Cross,             6 images, 3 of top 10 images, 2 David & Goliath
  • 7. Clones,                                             6 images, 4 of top 10 images, 2 Daniel and Lion’s Den
  • 8. Durrow Cross,                                  6 images, 3 of top 10 images
  • 9. Kells, Broken Cross,                        6 images, 2 of top 10 images
  • 10. Kells, Patrick and Columba Cross, 6 images, 4 of top 10 images

It is surprising that the cross with the largest number of Hebrew scripture images has very few of the top 10 images:  Monasterboice Tall Cross, 3 of 10.  Crosses 2-5 above each have half or more of the top 10 Hebrew scripture images.  Crosses 6-10 have the fewest total Hebrew scripture images but in all but the case of cross 9, half or more of the images depicted on each cross are in the top 10.

Crosses with Hebrew Scripture Images: By Subject 

Adam Names the Animals, North Cross, Ahenny, County Tipperary, Ireland

Adam names the Animals                        Genesis 1:21-25  Image appears 1 time

  • (?) Ahenny, North Cross, east face, base  

The Cross pictured to the right is the North Cross at Ahenny in County Tipperary.    



God Sanctifies the Sabbath, Killamery Cross, County Kilkenny, Ireland

God sanctifies the Sabbath                      Genesis 2:1-3      Image appears 1 time

  • Killamery, west face, head, below center

The Cross pictured to the right is the Killamery Cross in County Kilkenny.





Eve gives Adam the Apple, Lisnaskea Cross, County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland

Eve gives Adam the Apple                       Genesis 3:6         Image appears 13 times

  • Boho, east 2
  • Camus, west 1
  • Castlebernard, north 4
  • Castledermot, North Cross, west face, center of head
  • Castledermot, South Cross, west 3
  • Drumcliff, east 2
  • Durrow Cross, south 1
  • (?) Graiguenamanagh, North Cross, east 3
  • Lisnaskea, northeast face
  • Monasterboice, Muiredach’s Cross, east 1, left
  • Moone, east face, base 3
  • Oldcourt, base, west face upper panel, left
  • (?) Ullard, east face, head, lower panel

The Cross pictured to the right is the Lisnaskea Cross in County Fermanagh.

Adam and Eve know their nakedness      Genesis 3:7         Image appears 17 times 

  • Arboe, east 1
  • Armagh, east 1
  • Clones, southeast 1
  • Clonmacnois, South Cross, south side, base, leftAdam and Eve know their Nakedness, Broken Cross, Kells, County Meath, Ireland
  • Donaghmore/Down, west 1
  • Donaghmore/Tyrone, west 1
  • Downpatrick, west 1
  • Dysert O’Dea, west, base
  • Galloon, West Cross, east 3
  • Kells, Broken Cross, west 1
  • Kells, Market Cross, south 3, left
  • Kells, Patrick and Columba’s Cross, east 2, left
  • Killary, east 1
  • Roscrea Cross, shaft, east
  • Sier Kieran, base, east face, lower register, right of center
  • Tihilly, west 3
  • Tynan, Village Cross, east face, shaft

The Cross pictured to the right is the Broken Cross at Kells in County Meath.

North Cross, Graiguenamanagh, County Kilkenny, Ireland

God reproves Adam                                 Genesis 3:9-11       Image appears 1 time  

  • (?) Graiguenamanagh, North Cross, east 3

The Cross pictured to the right is the Graiguenamanagh, North Cross, County Kilkenny.



Adam and Eve at Labor, Killamery Cross, County Kilkenny, Ireland

Adam and Eve at labor                             Genesis 3:23          Image appears 2 times 

  • (?) Kells, Market Cross, south face, head, upper panel
  • (?) Killamery, west face, head, above center

The Cross pictured to the right is the Killamery Cross in County Kilkenny.  The image is badly worn.

Cain kills Abel                                         Genesis 4:8            Image appears 12 times 

  • Arboe, south 1Muiredach's Cross, Monasterboice, County Louth, Ireland
  • Armagh, south 1
  • Camus, west 2
  • Clones, southeast face, head, southwest arm
  • Connor, face, lower panel
  • Donaghmore/Tyrone, west 2
  • (?) Downpatrick west 2
  • Durrow Cross, south 2
  • Kells, Market Cross, south 3, right
  • Kells, Patrick and Columba’s Cross, east 2, right
  • Monasterboice, Muiredach’s Cross, east 1, right
  • Old Kilcullen, west shaft, north 3

The Cross pictured to the right is Muiredach’s Cross at Monasterboice in County Louth.  See the right side of the panel.

Noah’s Ark                                                Genesis 8:10-11     Image appears 8 times 

  • Armagh, east 2Noah's Ark, Killary Cross, County Meath, Ireland
  • Camus, west 3
  • (?) Clonlea, North Cross, east 2
  • Donaghmore/Down, west 2
  • Galloon, West Cross, west 3
  • Kells, Broken Cross, west 2
  • Killamery, end of south arm
  • Killary, east 2

The Cross pictured to the right is the Killary Cross in County Meath.

Sacrifice of Isaac                                      Genesis 12:9-13     Image appears 22 times  

  • Arboe, east 2Sacrifice of Isaac, Moone Cross, County Kildare, Ireland
  • Armagh, east 3
  • Camus, west 4
  • Castledermot, North Cross, west face, south arm
  • Castledermot, South Cross, west face, south arm
  • Clones, southeast 2
  • (?) Clonmacnois, South Cross, base, south side, right
  • (?) Connor, side, lower panel
  • (?) Donaghmore/Down, west 4
  • Donaghmore/Tyrone, west 3
  • Drumcliff, National Museum, upper fragment, east 1
  • Durrow Cross, east 3
  • Galloon, East Cross, east 1
  • Galloon, West Cross, west 2
  • Graiguenamanagh, North Cross, east 2
  • Kells, Market Cross, south face, west arm
  • Kells, Patrick and Columba’s Cross, east face, south arm
  • Killary, east 3
  • Monasterboice, Tall Cross, east 2
  • Moone, east face, base 2
  • Sier Kieran, base, east face, upper register, center
  • Ullard, east face, head, north arm

The Cross pictured above right is the Moone Cross in County Kildare.

The Joseph Cycle:  Harbison informs us that “Early Christian theology saw the Joseph story as a pre-cursor of the Passion of Christ” and that it was “the most extensive pictorial cycles of which we have knowledge in Early Christian art.”  (Harbison, 1992, pp. 200-201)  However, there are, at best, a hand full of images from the Joseph cycle on the Irish High Crosses.

Joseph taken from the Pit                         Genesis 37:28           Image appears 1 time   

  • Connor, face, upper panel

The Cross pictured to the right is the Connor Cross Shaft in County Antrim.  The photo is from Peter Harbison, 1992, Volume 2.



Joseph Interprets Dream of Pharaoh's Butler, Cross of the Scriptures, Clonmacnois, County Offaly, Ireland

Joseph interprets dream of Pharaoh’s Butler   Genesis 40:9-13 Image appears 2 times 

  • (?) Clones, southeast face, head, northeast arm
  • (?) Clonmacnois, Cross of the Scriptures, east 1

The Cross pictured to the right the Cross of the Scriptures at Clonmacnois, County Offaly.

Chief Butler gives cup to Pharaoh, Cross of the Scriptures, Clonmacnois, County Offaly, Ireland


Chief Butler gives cup to Pharaoh           Genesis 40:21             Image appears 1 time

  • (?) Clonmacnois, Cross of the Scriptures, east 2 

The Cross pictured to the right is the Cross of the Scriptures at Clonmacnois in County Offaly.




Moses turns Nile to Blood, Broken Cross, Kells, County Meath, IrelandPillar of Fire, Broken Cross, Kells, County Meath, Ireland

Moses turns waters of Nile into blood      Exodus 7:17-21           Image appears 1 time

  • Kells, Broken Cross, west 3

The Cross pictured to the right is the Broken Cross at Kells, County Meath.  It is badly worn.


Pillar of Fire                                              Exodus 8:21-22           Image appears 2 times

  • Kells, Broken Cross, west 4
  • Kells, Market Cross, west 4

The Cross pictured to the right is the Broken Cross at Kells, County Meath.


Passage through the Red Sea, Broken Cross, Kells, County Meath, Ireland


Passage through the Red Sea                 Exodus 14:27-30         Image appears 1 time

  • Kells, Broken Cross, west 5

The Cross pictured to the right is the Broken Cross at Kells, County Meath.


Moses Smites Water from the Rock, Tall Cross, Monasterboice, County Louth, Ireland

Moses smites Water from the Rock            Exodus 17:6                Image appears 3 times

  • Donaghmore/Down, east 3
  • Monasterboice, Muiredach’s Cross, east 3
  • Monasterboice, Tall Cross, east 3

The Cross pictured to the right is the Tall Cross at Monasterboice, County Louth.


Samson Rends Pillars of House, Tall Cross, Monasterboice, County Louth, Ireland


Samson rends Pillars of the House            Judges 16:26-30         Image appears 1 time

  • Monasterboice, Tall Cross, east 5

The Cross pictured to the right is the Tall Cross at Monasterboice County Louth.




Samuel anoints Saul or David                   First Samuel 10:1        Image appears 2 times

  • (?) Galloon, East Cross, north side
  • (?) Inishcealtra, Ringed Cross, end of arms

The Cross pictured to the right is the East Cross at Galloon in County Fermanagh.  The photo is from Peter Harbison, 1992, Volume 2.




The David Cycle:  This is the most extensive of the cycles to be illustrated on the Irish High Crosses.  David was both an ancestor of Jesus, according to the genealogies, but also a pre-figuration of Christ as King.  (Harbison, 1992, p. 210)

Summoning of David                                  First Samuel 14:11-12, Image appears 1 time 

  • (?) Castlebernard, south 2

No clear image is available.

Samuel Anoints David, Tall Cross, Monasterboice, County Louth, Ireland

Samuel anoints David                                 First Samuel 16:13      Image appears 2 times 

  • (?) Kells, Market Cross, west 3
  • Monasterboice, Tall Cross, east 4, right

The Cross pictured to the right is the Tall Cross at Monasterboice in County Louth.

David Plays before Saul, Patrick and Columba Cross, Kells, County Meath, Ireland



David plays before Saul                               First Samuel 16:23     Image appears 1 time 

  • (?) Kells, Patrick and Columba’s Cross, east face, top

The Cross pictured to the right is the Patrick and Columba Cross at Kells in County Meath.



David as Musician, North Cross, Castledermot, County Kildare, Ireland


David as Musician                                        No specific text           Image appears 8 times

  • Castledermot, North Cross, west face, north arm
  • Castledermot, South Cross, west face, north arm
  • Clonmacnois, Cross of the Scriptures, south 2
  • Durrow Cross, east face, south arm
  • Graiguenamanagh, North Cross, east 1
  • Kells, Market Cross, south face, head, lower panel
  • (?) Newtown, west face, north arm
  • Ullard, east face, head, south arm

The Cross pictured to the right is the North Cross at Castledermot in County Kildare.

David as Shepherd, Scripture Cross, Clonmacnois, County Offaly, IrelandDavid Slays the Lion, Market Cross, Kells, County Meath, Ireland

David as Shepherd                                        No specific text          Image appears 2 times

  • (?) Clonmacnois, Cross of the Scriptures, south 3
  • (?) Durrow, Cross head, east face 

The Cross pictured to the right is the Scripture Cross at Clonmacnois, County Offaly.  The photo is from Peter Harbison, 1992, Volume 2.

   


David slays the Lion                                       First Samuel 17:34-35, Image appears 13 times

  • Arboe, south 2
  • Armagh, south 3
  • Donaghmore/Down, east 4, right
  • Drumcliff, National Museum, lower fragment, east 2
  • Durrow Cross, east face, north arm
  • Kells, Market Cross, west side, end of arm
  • Kells, Patrick and Columba’s Cross, end of south arm
  • (?) Kells, Patrick and Columba’s Cross, end of north arm
  • (?) Kilcullen west shaft, north 1
  • Monasterboice, Tall Cross, east 1
  • (?) Newtown, west face, south arm
  • (?) Oldcourt, base, east face, lower panel, right
  • (?) Old Kilcullen, west shaft, west 3

The Cross pictured above to the right is the Market Cross at Kells in County Meath.

David arms himself                                        First Samuel 7:38-39    Image appears 1 time 

  • (?) Castledermot, South Cross, north 4

The Cross pictured to the right is the South Cross at Castledermot, County Kildare.  The photo is from Peter Harbison, 1992, Volume 2.


David and Goliath                                          First Samuel 17:40-41, 45-50, Image appears 6 times

  • Arboe, south 3
  • Armagh, south 2
  • Castledermot, South Cross, north 3
  • (?) Donaghmore/Down, north 2
  • Monasterboice, Muiredach’s Cross, east 2
  • (?) Ullard, east face, head, upper panel

The Cross pictured to the right is the South Cross at Castledermot, County Kildare.  The photo is from Peter Harbison, 1992, Volume 2.

David slays Goliath                                         First Samuel 17:51       Image appears 2 times 

  • Castledermot, South Cross, north 2
  • Drumcliff, east 4

The Cross pictured to the right is the South Cross at Castledermot County Kildare.  The photo is from Peter Harbison, 1992, Volume 2.

David with Head of Goliath Tall Cross, Monasterboice, County Louth, Ireland


David with Head of Goliath                              First Samuel 17:54       Image appears 4 times

  • Donaghmore/Down, east 4, left
  • (?) Killary, north 1
  • Monasterboice, Tall Cross, east 4, left
  • (?) Sier Kieran, base, east face, upper register, left

The Cross pictured to the right is the Tall Cross at Monasterboice, County Louth.  This particular image is on the left of the panel.

David Acclaimed King, Tall Cross, Monasterboice, County Louth, Ireland

David acclaimed King                                      Second Samuel 5:3     Image appears 3 times

  • (?) Kells, Market Cross, south 2
  • (?) Monasterboice, Tall Cross, east face, center of head
  • (?) Tynan, Village Cross, shaft, west face

The Cross pictured to the right is the Tall Cross at Monasterboice, County Louth.

David as King, Tall Cross, Monasterboice, County Louth, Ireland

David as King                                                   No specific text            Image appears 2 times

  • Durrow Cross, south 3
  • Monasterboice, Tall Cross, north 2

The Cross pictured to the right is the Tall Cross at Monasterboice, County Louth.



Judgment of Solomon, North Cross, Castledermot, County Kildare, Ireland

Judgment of Solomon                                       First Kings 3:24-28     Image appears 2 times 

  • (?) Castledermot, North Cross, west face, top of head
  • (?) Kells, Market Cross, west 2

The Cross pictured to the right is the North Cross at Castledermot, County Kildare.

Elijah Ascends to Heaven, Tall Cross, Monasterboice, County Louth, Ireland

Elijah ascends to Heaven                                   Second Kings 2:11    Image appears 1 time 

  • Monbasterboice, Tall Cross, east 6

The Cross pictured to the right is the Tall Cross at Monasterboice, County Louth.

Repentance of Manasseh, Tall Cross, Monasterboice, County Louth, Ireland

Repentance of Manasseh                                  Second Chronicles 33:3, 7, 11-13 and 15-16, Image appears 1 time

  • (?) Monasterboice, Tall Cross, east face, top

The Cross pictured to the right is the Tall Cross at Monasterboice, County Louth.

Three Children in the Fiery Furnace                     Daniel 3:20-28          Image appears 18 times

  • Ahenny, South Cross, east face, base, left panelThree Children in the Fiery Furnace, Moone Cross, County Kildare, Ireland
  • Arboe, east 3
  • Arboe, east 4
  • (?) Armagh, east 4
  • Armagh, north 1
  • Dysert O’Dea, south side, base
  • Galloon, West Cross, west 1
  • Kells, Market Cross, south face, center of head
  • Kells, Patrick and Columba’s Cross, east 3
  • Kells, Patrick and Columba’s Cross, east 4
  • Killary, east 4
  • (?) Lorrha, Southeast Cross, base, north side
  • Monasterboice, Tall Cross, east face, head, lower panel
  • Monasterboice, Tall Cross, north 4
  • Moone, south side, base 3
  • Oldcourt, base, east face, upper panel
  • (?) Roscrea pillar, east face, center
  • Sier Kieran, base, east face, lower register, center

The Cross pictured above right is the Moone Cross, County Kildare.

Daniel in the Lion's Den, Drumcliff Cross, County Sligo, Ireland

Daniel in the Lions’ Den                                       Daniel 6:16-23           Image appears 8 times

  • Castledermot, North Cross, west 3
  • Castledermot, South Cross, west 1
  • Clones, southeast 3
  • Clones, southeast face, center of head
  • Drumcliff, east 5
  • Drumcliff, National Museum upper fragment, east 2
  • Galloon, West Cross, east 2
  • Galloon, Head fragment, east face, center

The Cross pictured to the right is the Drumcliff Cross, County Sligo.

Daniel in the Lion Pit, Moone Cross, County Kildare, Ireland

Daniel in the Lion Pit                                            Daniel 14:31-32, 40-42, Image appears 1 time

  • Moone, east face, base 1

The Cross pictured to the right is the Moon Cross, County Kildare.

Crosses with Hebrew Scripture Images:  By Name of Cross

Ahenny, North Cross

  1. Adam Names the Animals

Ahenny, South Cross

  1. Three Children in the Fiery Furnace

Arboe

  1. Adam and Eve Know their Nakedness
  2. Cain kills Abel
  3. Sacrifice of Isaac
  4. David slays the Lion
  5. David and Goliath
  6. Three Children in the Fiery Furnace
  7. Three Children in the Fiery Furnace

Armagh

  1. Adam and Eve Know their Nakedness
  2. Cain kills Abel
  3. Noah’s Ark
  4. Sacrifice of Isaac
  5. David slays the Lion
  6. David and Goliath
  7. Three Children in the Fiery Furnace

Boho

  1. Eve Gives Adam the Apple

Camus

  1. Eve Gives Adam the Apple
  2. Cain kills Abel
  3. Noah’s Ark
  4. Sacrifice of Isaac

Castlebernard

  1. Eve Gives Adam the Apple
  2. Summoning of David

Castledermot, North Cross

  1. Eve Gives Adam the Apple
  2. Sacrifice of Isaac
  3. David as Musician
  4. Judgment of Solomon
  5. Daniel in the Lion’s Den

Castledermot, South Cross

  1. Eve Gives Adam the Apple
  2. Sacrifice of Isaac
  3. David as Musician
  4. David and Goliath
  5. David Slays Goliath
  6. Daniel in the Lions’ Den

Clones

  1. Adam and Eve Know their Nakedness
  2. Cain Slays Abel
  3. Sacrifice of Isaac
  4. Joseph Interprets Dream of Pharaoh’s Butler
  5. Daniel in the Lions’ Den
  6. Daniel in the Lions’ Den

Clonlea

  1. Noah’s Ark

Clonmacnois, South Cross

  1. Adam and Eve Know their Nakedness

Clonmacnois, Scripture Cross

  1. Joseph Interprets Dream of Pharaoh’s Butler
  2. Chief Butler gives Cup to Pharaoh
  3. David as Musician
  4. David as Shepherd

Connor

  1. Cain Kills Abel
  2. Joseph Taken from the Pit

Donaghmore/Down

  1. Adam and Eve Know their Nakedness
  2. Noah’s Ark
  3. Sacrifice of Isaac
  4. Moses Smites Water from the Rock
  5. David slays the Lion
  6. David and Goliath
  7. David with Head of Goliath

Donaghmore/Tyrone

  1. Adam and Eve Know their Nakedness
  2. Cain kills Abel
  3. Sacrifice of Isaac

Downpatrick

  1. Adam and Eve Know their Nakedness
  2. Cain kills Abel

Drumcliff

  1. Eve Gives Adam the Apple
  2. David slays Goliath
  3. Daniel in the Lion’s Den

Drumcliff, National Museum

  1. Sacrifice of Isaac
  2. David slays the Lion
  3. Daniel in the Lion’s Den

Durrow Cross

  1. Eve Gives Adam the Apple
  2. Cain kills Abel
  3. Sacrifice of Isaac
  4. David as Musician
  5. David slays the Lion
  6. David as King

Durrow Cross Head

  1. David as Shepherd

Dysert O’Dea

  1. Adam and Eve Know their Nakedness
  2. Three Children in the Fiery Furnace

Galloon East Cross

  1. Sacrifice of Isaac
  2. Samuel anoints Saul or David

Galloon Head Fragment

  1. Daniel in the Lion’s Den

Galloon, West Cross

  1. Noah’s Ark
  2. Sacrifice of Isaac
  3. Three Children in the Fiery Furnace
  4. Daniel in the Lion’s Den

Graiguenamanagh, North Cross

  1. Eve Gives Adam the Apple
  2. God Reproves Adam
  3. Sacrifice of Isaac
  4. David as Musician

Inishcealtra, Ringed Cross

  1. Samuel Anoints Saul or David

Kells, Broken Cross

  1. Adam and Eve Know their Nakedness
  2. Noah’s Ark
  3. Moses Turns the Nile to Blood
  4. Pillar of Fire
  5. Passage Through the Red Sea
  6. Three Children in the Fiery Furnace

Kells, Market Cross

  1. Adam and Eve Know their Nakedness
  2. Adam and Eve at Labor
  3. Cain kills Abel
  4. Sacrifice of Isaac
  5. Pillar of Fire
  6. Samuel anoints David
  7. David as Musician
  8. David slays the Lion
  9. David acclaimed King
  10. Judgment of Solomon
  11. Three Children in the Fiery Furnace

Kells, Patrick and Columba’s Cross

  1. Adam and Eve Know their Nakedness
  2. Cain kills Abel
  3. Sacrifice of Isaac
  4. David Plays for Saul
  5. David slays the Lion
  6. Three Children in the Fiery Furnace

Kilcullen

  1. David slays the Lion

Killamery 

  1. God sanctifies the Sabbath
  2. Adam and Eve at Labor
  3. Noah’s Ark

Killary

  1. Adam and Eve Know their Nakedness
  2. Noah’s Ark
  3. Sacrifice of Isaac
  4. David With the Head of Goliath
  5. Three Children in the Fiery Furnace

Lisnaskea

  1. Eve gives Adam the Apple

Lorrha, Southeast Cross

  1. Daniel in the Lion’s Den

Monasterboice, Muiredach’s Cross

  1. Eve gives Adam the Apple
  2. Cain kills Abel
  3. Moses Smites Water from the Rock
  4. David and Goliath

Monasterboice, Tall Cross

  1. Sacrifice of Isaac
  2. Moses Smites Water from the Rock
  3. Samson Rends the Pillars of the House
  4. Samuel Anoints David
  5. David slays the Lion
  6. David with Head of Goliath
  7. David Acclaimed King
  8. David as King
  9. Elijah Ascends to Heaven
  10. Repentance of Manasseh
  11. Three Children in the Fiery Furnace
  12. Three Children in the Fiery Furnace

Moone

  1. Eve Gives Adam the Apple
  2. Sacrifice of Isaac
  3. Three Children in the Fiery Furnace
  4. Daniel in the Lion Pit

Newtown

  1. David as Musician
  2. David slays the Lion

Oldcourt

  1. Eve Gives Adam the Apple
  2. David slays the Lion
  3. Three Children in the Fiery Furnace

Old Kilcullen, West Cross

  1. Cain kills Abel
  2. David slays the Lion

Roscrea Cross

  1. Adam and Eve Know their Nakedness

Roscrea Pillar

  1. Three Children in the Fiery Furnace

Sier Kieran

  1. Adam and Eve Know their Nakedness
  2. Sacrifice of Isaac
  3. David with the Head of Goliath
  4. Three Children in the Fiery Furnace

Tihilly

  1. Adam and Eve Know their Nakedness

Tynan, Village Cross

  1. Adam and Eve Know their Nakedness
  2. David acclaimed King

Ullard

  1. Eve Gives Adam the Apple
  2. Sacrifice of Isaac
  3. David as Musician
  4. David and Goliath



 Barney McLaughlin 2012