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The Saint John’s Bible coming to Providence

Wednesday, March 7, 2018


Providence is excited to provide the opportunity for students, faculty, staff and the surrounding community to experience The Saint John’s Bible March 13-14 at the Otterburne campus.

Described as “one of the extraordinary undertakings of our times” by Smithsonian Magazine, The Saint John’s Bible, completed in 2011, is the first Benedictine-commissioned hand-written, hand-illuminated Bible since the development of Johannes Gutenburg’s moveable type printing press in the 1450s.

Visitors to Providence will encounter the Gospels and Acts, and an information session (the session will be held three times over the two-day exhibit) will introduce guests to the art and interpretation of the manuscript.

“The Saint John’s Bible is a stunning work of text, interpretation and aesthetic,” explains Rev. Dr. John Stafford, a previous professor of Biblical & Theological Studies at Providence and one this exhibit’s organizers. “It was completed over 16 years under the oversight of St. John’s University in St. Cloud, Minnesota as well as the Benedictine community and master artists and calligraphers. Encountering this compelling manuscript is a rare opportunity.”

Produced by expert calligraphers and illuminators in Monmouth, Wales, in tandem with a team of scholars at Saint John’s University, the single, original Saint John’s Bible, produced on vellum and complete with 160 illuminations, is displayed in the Alcuin Library of Saint John’s University. Providence will display a Heritage Edition—true to scale at two feet by three feet when open and printed on 100 per cent uncoated cotton paper.

Master calligrapher Donald Jackson, official scribe and calligrapher to the Crown Office of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, approved each Heritage Edition page, and his artists completed touch-ups by hand. Gold and silver foils were applied by stamping and embossing, and binding was completed by hand using Italian calfskin leather.

“Not only is The Saint John’s Bible a feast for the eyes, but it also honours the history of Bible production and encourages us to spend time with biblical text,” says Terry Kennedy, Director of Library Services at Providence. “In a hurried world it asks us to reflect on biblical text through art, and to appreciate the history of manuscript production.”

Visitors will have three opportunities to attend an information session that will explain the purpose of The Saint John’s Bible, the history of illuminated manuscripts and the aesthetics of calligraphy, beauty and interpretation. (See schedule below.) The session will feature short videos and supplementary presentations, and coffee and snacks will be provided. There is no cost to attend this exciting event.

The Saint John’s Bible at Providence
Tuesday, March 13 and Wednesday, March 14 in the South Meeting Room of the Student Life Centre

Session: Tuesday, 9:15 a.m to 11:00 a.m.
Session: Tuesday, 1:30 p.m. to 3:15 p.m.
Session: Wednesday, 9:15 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.

(All three sessions are the same.)
Visitors are welcome to view and handle the manuscript on a come-and-go basis Wednesday afternoon.

VIDEO: The Saint John's Bible - Evangelism in Action

VIDEO: Donald Jackson discusses The Saint John's Bible

(Illuminations: The Word Made Flesh; The Creation.)

Author - Providence