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March 31, 2005

Harold Be Thy Name

What is the origin of the H. in the phrase, Jesus H. Christ? I like these related suggestions.

The theologian will undoubtedly be familiar with "IHS," which stands for the Latin phrase "Jesus Hominum Salvator," which means Jesus, Savior of Man. Note that the J, as a separate character from the I, is only a few centuries old. This trigraph is frequently found in medieval and Renaissance art.

An historian may be familiar with the tale that, before an important battle in 312, the Emperor Constantine saw vision of the cross in the sky and heard a voice saying that he would conquer "under this standard" or "in this sign." The Latin words would be "in hoc signo," which abbreviates to IHS.

Posted by Ghost of a flea at March 31, 2005 06:21 AM

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