From Faith Futures
Jump to: navigation, search

This page is part of the Jesus Database series and relates especially to 120 The Lords Prayer

The SATOR-ROTAS word square

The following acrostic is attested from 1C Roman sites in Italy and Britain, and has attracted some discussion because of its possible relevance to early use of the Lord’s Prayer:


The acrostic is usually translated as: </p>

Arepo the sower holds the wheels at work.

However, it has also been interpreted as a secret Christian sign because it can be rearranged into the form of a cross, with the opening words of the Lord's Prayer in Latin, Pater Noster, going both vertically and horizontally; intersecting at the letter N and with the redundant pairs of AO serving as anagrams for Jesus (Alpha and Omega):


See a summary for comments on this acrostic from the CLASSICS-L list.

Its occurence at Herculaneum (destroyed in the eruption of Mt Vesuvius in 79 CE) would be an early attestation of the Lord's Prayer (as well as Christian activity in Italy) if the Christian interpretation of the acrostic was accepted. However, it also been interpreted as a pagan acrostic (possibly Mithraic) that was only later adopted by Latin-speaking Christians who saw within it the Paternoster pattern.