The St. John’s Bible was commissioned by Saint John’s Abbey and University. It was created by Donald Jackson, Senior Scribe to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth’s Crown Office, along with a collaborative team of artists and scribes.
This is the first illuminated, handwritten Bible of monumental size to be commissioned by a Benedictine monastery in over 500 years. All 73 books of the Old and New Testaments, using the New Revised Standard Version, are presented in seven volumes totaling approximately 1150 pages.
The work of the St. John’s Bible was done in a scriptorium in Wales. Now completed, the Bible’s home is Saint John’s University in Collegeville, MN.
The St. John’s Bible was made using traditional materials such as vellum, ancient inks, gold and silver leaf, and platinum. It was written with quill pens fashioned from goose, turkey and swan feathers.
The Heritage Edition of the St. John’s Bible is the only full-size, limited, signed and numbered fine art edition that will ever be produced. 299 fine art editions were created and placed around the world in religious, arts, academic, healing and literary institutions.
Bound in Italian leather and printed on 100 percent cotton paper using printing technologies invented for this project, the Heritage edition features the exquisite calligraphy, vibrant imagery and stunning gold and silver illumination inspired by the original.
My puny attempts at photography do not do this exhibition justice. All seven books are on display at Rockhurst College’s Greenlease Library, 51st and Troost, KCMO, through the end of September. Two books will remain at the library through the end of 2013.
My guide during this trip was the super-knowledgeable Ellen Spake. She took training at the St. John’s Abbey in Minnesota as part of the contract to bring the books to Rockhurst. Visitors are allowed to browse the books at their leisure, and Ms. Spake and her team of docents provide a wealth of information about the books. Any question about methods, materials, iconography, symbology and the makers is answered in great detail.
Thanks to my Mom for finding out about this exhibit and patiently accompanying me as I drooled all over the books and spent a couple of hours being amazed. I may have to return and drool some more, and listen to Ms. Spake tell the story of this amazing achievement.
I hope you enjoy the gallery of my photos, and I really hope you are able to see this exhibit at one of the 299 places around the world.