Credit: Donald Jackson with contributions from Sallie Mae Joseph. Luke 2, detail.

Credit: Donald Jackson. Gospel Of John Frontispiece and Incipit.

Credit: Donald Jackson with contributions from Chris Tomlin. Genesis Frontispiece: Creation. (Genesis 1:1-2:3)

Credit: Donald Jackson with contributions from Chris Tomlin. Adam and Eve. (Genesis 2:4-25)

The Saint John's Bible

 About the Saint John's Bible

The Saint John’s Bible is a hand-written, hand-illustrated Bible in seven large volumes (1150 pages). Commissioned by Saint John's Benedictine Abbey & University in Minnesota, this spectacular modern manuscript is the result of fifteen years of work by a team of calligraphers, artists, theologians, and scholars.

Saint John’s Bible at Saint Mary’s College

Saint Mary’s College of California is a participant in the program A Year with The Saint John’s Bible. Thanks to this program, the Heritage Edition of the Saint John’s Bible, a full-sized fine art reproduction of the original manuscript, is here on campus at SMC. Only 299 Heritage sets were produced, with hand-applied 24 carat gold illumination. Each of the thousands of illustrations was hand-treated. The goal of this program is for colleges and other communities  “to use this gift of sacred art to ignite their spiritual imaginations for generations to come”.

Saint John’s Bible and your class

At the Museum:  From 2 February to 6 April 2014, all seven volumes are in the Saint Mary’s College Museum of Art as part of the exhibit “Illuminating Divine Word Anew: Heritage Edition of the Saint John's Bible”.  The exhibit also includes related displays such as a video about the processes used in making this work.  The Museum is open to the public Wednesday through Sunday (11 am to 4:30 pm) and faculty may schedule class sessions in the Museum to allow students to see this Bible. SMC Faculty may contact Heidi Donner at x4069.

At the Library: After April 6th, two volumes will remain on campus in the Library until January 2015. Faculty may contact Hannah Thomas at x8325 to schedule class sessions in the Library. 

Other resources at the Library include several books and a video about the process of creating this work and interpretative guides to the artwork.  These are on reserve at available at the Circulation Desk.

Other Events on Campus

Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014 at 7:30 pm
The St. John’s Bible: Art and Theology (Power Point Lecture)
Fr. Eric Hollas, Ph.D
LeFevre Theater, Admission free

The Saint John's Bible

This is a Bible for the 21 century, pairing  traditional methods and techniques such as calfskin vellum, goose quills, handmixed pigments and gold leaf, with modern resources such as computer design for planning page layouts.  The imagery also spans centuries and cultures, combining traditional biblical imagery, with depictions of modern events and scientific discoveries: strands of DNA are woven into the illumination of the “Genealogy of Christ;” the Twin Towers appear in the illumination of Luke’s parables; and photos from the Hubble telescope are used to depict Creation.   Just as scholars now study medieval illuminated manuscripts to learn about the time and place in which they were created, people hundreds of years from now will study this Bible to learn about the world of the early 21st century. 

The Saint John’s Bible uses the New Revised Standard Version, the ecumenical translation recognized by most Christian denominations.

Saint John's Bible on the Web

See each page at the website
Choose a volume from the list on the left, then click the page-corners to turn the pages.

Learn about the process at the website

Seeing the Word: Visio Divina: a "program of guided reflection that makes it possible to pray with images from The Saint John's Bible"

Library of Congress online exhibit