The Hebrews recognized fish as one of the great divisions of the animal kingdom, and as such gave them a place in the account of the creation (genesis 1;21,28) the mosaic law, (Leviticus 11;9,10) pronounced unclean such fish as were devoid of fins and scales, these were and are regarded as unwholesome in Egypt.
Among the Philistines Dagon was represented by a figure half man and half fish, and was expressly prohibited worship of the fish. The sea of Galilee was and still is extremely well stocked with fish, Jerusalem derived its supply of fish chiefly from the Mediterranean, (Ezekiel 47;10).
The Orientals are exceedingly fond of fish as an article of diet. Fishermen are often spoken of in the bible, and a large proportion of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus were of that occupation, Christ made them " fishers of men"( Matthew 4;18-22 ).
The early Christians, in times of persecution, used to engrave the form of a fish on their medals, seals, and tombs, as a tacit confession of their faith; As the five letters of the Greek word for fish are the initial letters of five words, signifying "Jesus Christ, the son of God, the savior"; this symbol has thus become the subject of a superstitious regard.
The fish has been a symbol for the generative and reproductive spirit. The word "Ichthys" also means "Womb" and "Dolphin" in ancient Greek and these meanings tie into the depictions of the mermaids. In some cultures the fish has been associated with reincarnation and the life force. In India some believe that the Fish is believed to house the soul of the deceased that if eaten reincarnation will occur in a newborn child.
The fish symbol may have also been known as "the Great Mother", a pointed oval sign, referred to as the Vesica Piscis. The shape of the Fish was associated with birth, fertility, feminine sexuality and natural force of women according to the Celts as well as other pagan cultures across Europe. In recent years there has been a revival of the Fish symbol and it has been associated with academic institutions, young movements and a new generation of believers.
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