The Unicorn's Connection To Sacred Scripture

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The unicorn, perhaps the most familiar magical creature known to man, has been an integral part of various cultures and societies for centuries. Known for its beauty and purity, the unicorn is a symbol of benevolence and goodness. While other magical creatures symbolize different qualities depending on society, the unicorn is only associated with benevolence, regardless of cultural context. The consistent description of the unicorn only begins to describe the magnitude of the impact this creature has had on previous and present societies, and unsurprisingly, the works of many scholars. This essay will not only discuss the origins of the unicorn, but it will also focus how various scholars describe the unicorn and define it as a real and as…show more content…
According to Costello, the last source that the unicorn originates from is the Physiologus, a popular work written by Didymus of Alexandria near the end of the second century CE (Sax 2013). Both Robin and Sax cite the Physiologus in describing how a unicorn can be captured. The text says that the unicorn will lay its head on the lap of a virgin and allow itself to be lead away. Obviously, Didymus is using the unicorn as a symbol for Christ and the virgin as a symbol for Mary. However, according to Malcom South, the author of Mythical and Fabulous Creatures, the symbolism does not stop there. South states that the horn of the unicorn symbolizes the oneness of Father and Son and the power of Christ and “the unicorn on the virgin’s lap represents Christ entering the womb of the virgin and taking on human flesh” (South 1987:18). Also, according to South, the Greek version of Physiologus describes a story where the animals of a forest cannot drink from a river because it has been poisoned by a serpent. The unicorn, however, gets into the river and marks a cross on it with its horn, and purifies the water (South 1987). In this example, the serpent symbolizes Satan and the unicorn symbolizes Christ, who offers salvation from the sin (poison) and is the savior. Additionally, South goes on to describe the unicorn’s role in the Garden of Eden, describing how the unicorn and its mate refused to enter the ark. According to South, “some accounts say that the unicorn drowned in the Flood, but others say that he survived by swimming until the waters went down” (South 1987:18). This story is interesting for two reasons. Firstly, South is the only source who describes the unicorn with a mate. In all of the other scholarly sources discussed in this paper, the unicorn is almost never depicted with a mate. The unicorn seems to be a symbol of chastity

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