I would like to know what Christianity says about the phoenix (also spelled phenix).

Do Christians believe in such an immortal bird?

Is there a biblical basis for belief in the phoenix?

  • There might be an isolated Christian somewhere that believes in the phoenix, but no its not mentioned in the Bible or taught by any significant group. – ThaddeusB Nov 10 '15 at 3:50
  • user50746: As originally written, this question may have been out of scope as it did not ask for a biblical basis. I have edited this with a view to bringing in scope. If you disagree with my edit, please feel free to restore your original text. – Dick Harfield Nov 10 '15 at 4:48
  • I am pretty sure there are references in the patristic sources in which the phoenix is used in analogy and is believed to be a real bird in a foreign location (India perhaps), with the typical mythology of death and rebirth from the ashes. – Ben Mordecai Nov 10 '15 at 19:23

According to some translations based on the Septuagint, Job 29:18 mentions the phoenix:

Job 29:18 (NAB): Then I said: "In my own nest I shall grow old; I shall multiply years like the phoenix

For the same verse, KJV translates this as 'the sand', while keeping the allusion to a bird:

Job 29:18 (KJV): Then I said, I shall die in my nest, and I shall multiply my days as the sand.

Clement of Rome, purportedly third pope and bishop of Rome, describes the life cycle of the phoenix as evidence of the reality of resurrection:

1 Clement 25-26: Let us consider that wonderful sign [of the resurrection] which takes place in Eastern lands, that is, in Arabia and the countries round about. There is a certain bird which is called a phoenix. This is the only one of its kind, and lives five hundred years. And when the time of its dissolution draws near that it must die, it builds itself a nest of frankincense, and myrrh, and other spices, into which, when the time is fulfilled, it enters and dies. But as the flesh decays a certain kind of worm is produced, which, being nourished by the juices of the dead bird, brings forth feathers. Then, when it has acquired strength, it takes up that nest in which are the bones of its parent, and bearing these it passes from the land of Arabia into Egypt, to the city called Heliopolis. And, in open day, flying in the sight of all men, it places them on the altar of the sun, and having done this, hastens back to its former abode. The priests then inspect the registers of the dates, and find that it has returned exactly as the five hundredth year was completed.

Do we then deem it any great and wonderful thing for the Maker of all things to raise up again those that have piously served Him in the assurance of a good faith, when even by a bird He shows us the mightiness of His power to fulfil His promise? For [the Scripture] saith in a certain place, "Thou shalt raise me up, and I shall confess unto Thee; " and again, "I laid me down, and slept; I awaked, because Thou art with me;" and again, Job says, "Thou shalt raise up this flesh of mine, which has suffered all these things."

The phoenix is universally regarded in modern times as a mythical bird.

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