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Illustration from
'The Chronology of Ancient Nations' of Al-Biruni
(Abū al-Rayḥān Muḥammad ibn Aḥmad al-Bīrūnī )
Copy from Tabriz, 1307AD

Jesus baptised in the Jordan by John

A larger image of Jesus baptised in the Jordan by John, in 'The Chronology of Ancient Nations' by Al-Biruni, Tabriz, Iran, 1307AD. University of Edinburgh Or.Ms.161 f.140v.

Shelfmark: Or.Ms.161
Holding Institution: University of Edinburgh
Title: Chronology of Ancient Nations
Subset Index: f.140v
Creator: Al-Biruni
Creator Nationality: Iranian
Creator Role: Author
Date: 1307

Detail of page from the Chronology of Ancient Nations by Al-Biruni. Image shows Jesus Christ standing in the waters of the River Jordan, about to be baptised. John the Baptist is standing at the water's edge, holding Christ's white garment, while his sandals are floating on the surface of the river. a dove can be scene descending towards the two, but the image lacks the sense of familiarity, suggesting that the artist lacked a previous knowledge of the baptism scene. Written by the famous astronomer and polymath Abu Rayhan Al-Biruni, the Chronology of Ancient Nations is a compendium and chronicle of a vast number of calendars and chronological systems from a variety of different cultural and religious groups from throughout the late antique and medieval periods in the Hellenic world, Central Asia and the Near East. Completed in the year 1000, it even includes details of festivals and liturgical practices, in addition to more specific information. This particular manuscript is thought to have been copied in 1307 and was the archetype for the three later versions which were used by Edward Sachau to translate the document from Arabic into English during the nineteenth century.
Chelkowski, P. J. (1975), 'The scholar and the saint : studies in commemoration of Abuʾl-Rayhan al-Biruni and Jalal al-Din al-Rumi', New York.
Source: University of Edinburgh

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