The Brazen Serpent
The Brazen Serpent.
Calcutta: Printed at the Baptist Mission Press,
for the Calcutta Christian Tract and Book Society, 1843.
Urdu, here identified as Hindustani, is historically associated with Muslims of the Hindustan region. It is the national language of Pakistan, an official language in five Indian states, and is mutually intelligible with standard Hindi. The language is now written in the Arabic alphabet, with several additional letters. Prior to standardization, however, Scriptures and other religious texts were printed in a variety of Arabic orthographies.
The Hindustani translation of The Brazen Serpent was issued as the sixth title in the Calcutta Christian Tract and Book Society’s miscellaneous series printed at the Baptist Mission Press. The author or source of the text has not yet been unidentified. “The Brazen Serpent,” however, was the title for several different religious tracts and also served as the theme for additional religious pamphlets, sermons, and children’s books published in the United Kingdom and the United States in the first half of the nineteenth century. The phrase “brazen serpent” refers to a sacred brass object in the form of a snake which Moses used to cure the Israelites from snakebites (Numbers 21:8-9). It is also mentioned once in the New Testament: “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:14-15).