In the present article, Anton Baumstark describes the decorative illustrations found in an Arabic gospel text of the fourteenth century and concludes that they represent antique artistic features that were preserved only in the Oriental manuscript tradition.
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Illustrated biblical texts, and particularly illustrations from the gospels, were a common feature of the manuscript traditions of nearly every language in which the Bible was translated and copied. As such, it is not surprising to find clear evidence of the influence of one artistic manuscript tradition on another. In the present article, Anton Baumstark describes the decorative illustrations found in an Arabic gospel text of the fourteenth century (Arab. 2377 of the University Library in Leiden) and compares the distinctive features of these illustrations with other manuscript traditions. Based on this comparison, Baumstark concludes that the images represent an antique form of Christian art found in the pre-Justinian Byzantine tradition and preserved only in the Oriental manuscript tradition. Baumstark presents a detailed description of each illustration, and the article includes pictures of the illustrations for reference.