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Image © Hildesheim, St Godehard

THE BAPTISM
Luke 3:22; Matthew 3:13-17; Mark 1:9-11

Christ stands in the River Jordan which covers his naked, sexless body like a cloak. One hand is blessing, the other, rather ineffectively, attempts to cover his nakedness. John, holding a phial of oil, and wearing his camel skin cloak administers the blessing. Two angels are symmetrically placed in attendance and the dove of the Holy Spirit descends from above.

A close comparison for this scene is found in the Benedictional of St Aethelwold where there are ministering angels to right and left. Christ’s gestures are repeated in an 11th-century Salzburg manuscript, but here his lower hand properly hides his groin (AP, 86, Pl.124e, 124c). The hand is also correctly placed in London, British Library, MS. Add.37372v


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