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Illustrating The Gospels In Arabic: Byzantine And Arab Christian Miniatures In Two Manuscripts Of The Early Mamlūk Period In Cambridge

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Chapter Summary

This chapter considers two little-known Arabic Gospel books in Cambridge University Library, with a view to considering the transfer or 'translation' of Gospel illustration from Greek into Arabic. One of the manuscripts, Cambridge University Library MS Gg. 5.33, reuses Greek Gospel illustrations directly. The MS Gg. 5.33, shows the adoption of Constantinopolitan Byzantine miniatures of c. 1100 into an Arabic Gospel book of known textual lineage in 1272 ad. The illustrations of the other, MS Add. 1860, were arguably painted by an Arab Christian artist, absorbing Greek and other eastern Christian traditions at the same time as making the Arabic tradition its own. The MS Add. 1860, shows the actual process of collation. This 'work in progress', exposed visually through the illustrations, demonstrates that the text has been properly researched and depends on its forebears in Greek, Coptic and Syriac.

Keywords: Arabic Gospel books; Byzantine miniatures; Cambridge university library; eastern Christian traditions; Greek



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