Mirror of Holiness (Mir’at al-quds) of Father Jerome Xavier

Mirror of Holiness (Mir’at al-quds) of Father Jerome Xavier


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24 full size illustrations with 160 folios of text; gum tempera, ink, and gold on paper

John L. Severance Fund 2005.145



Father Jerome Xavier (1549–1617) of the Society of Jesus, also known as the Jesuit order of Catholic priests, spent 19 years as a guest at the Mughal court from 1595 until 1614. While in residence he learned the Persian language so that he could engage in theological discussions in the courts of Akbar and his successor, Jahangir. When Akbar requested a biography of Jesus, Father Jerome wrote the Mir’at al-quds in Persian prose. This text relates his version of the life and miracles of Jesus based on a number of canonical and apocryphal sources. He emphasized aspects of the life of Jesus that he thought would appeal to Akbar in the hopes of winning the emperor’s conversion to Christianity.

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