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Illuminating the Word: The Saint John’s Bible
July 12 – September 7, 2008

Illuminating the Word: The Saint John’s Bible presents the only handwritten and illuminated Bible commissioned since the advent of the printing press more than 500 years ago. The Saint John’s Bible is a contemporary work created in the tradition of handwritten medieval manuscripts. The artistic director of the project, Donald Jackson, calligrapher to Queen Elizabeth II, is one of the world’s foremost calligraphers. He worked with scribes and artists to write and illuminate The Saint John’s Bible using quills and paints hand-ground from precious minerals and stones, as did scribes during medieval times. 

Theologians from Saint John’s Abbey and University and the College of Saint Benedict, together with consultants from other faiths, worked with Jackson to provide theological briefs that direct the interpretation of scripture in the illustrations. Jackson and his team created illuminations reflecting a multicultural world and humanity’s enormous strides in science, technology, and social change. Because the project is an interfaith undertaking, Jackson incorporated imagery from Eastern and Western religious traditions, as well as influences from Native American cultures. This exhibition was organized and circulated by the Minneapolis Institute of Arts and Saint John’s University, Collegeville, Minnesota.

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