St John's University in Collegeville, Minnesota, and Donald Jackson, scribe to the Queen of England, have completed an amazing project: the only hand-scribed and illuminated bible (well, in the last 500 years).
The St John's Bible project began with a conversation between the renowned scribe and St John's leaders when Jackson visited the campus as a professor of calligraphy. He mentioned that his dream project is to hand scribe the bible with illuminations of key texts. With the Target Corporation as a sponsor, several alumni (like me) and many trained scribes to assist, the 1150-page bible began.
The remarkable work includes social messages within the illuminations: such as the AIDS virus and cancer depicted as modern pestilence (not God's punishment). Artists included images taken from nature such as butterflies from the St. John's campus. The bible illustrates the ancient Word of God with social commentary on our particular moment in time.
Jackson completed the last page of Revelation, with the last word, “Amen,” and recently delivered the final pages to St. John's, where the original seven-volume work will reside permanently, bound with wood taken from Jackson's native Wales.
Prints, cards, and an everyman's publication of the bible are available for purchase.
What would Jesus think about this project? I imagine exactly what I think: cool, very, very cool.
(S-R archive photo of a hand-drawn illustration for the Gospel According to Matthew is on a page from The St. John's Bible, pictured in May, at St. John's University in Collegeville, Minn. )