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Facts about The Saint John's Bible
The Saint John’s Bible (SJB)
The SJB is the first handwritten illuminated Bible of its scale in over 500 years.
The mission of the SJB: “To ignite the spiritual imagination of people around the world of all faith journeys.”
Donald Jackson, Senior Scribe to the Queen of England, is the artistic director of the SJB.
1995 – Mr. Jackson presented his lifelong dream to handwrite the Bible to Fr. Eric Hollas, O.S.B.
1998 – Saint John’s Abbey and University commissioned Mr. Jackson to begin the project.
2000 – Mr. Jackson drew the first words – “In the beginning” – on Ash Wednesday.
2011 – Donald and Mabel Jackson presented the final page of the SJB to Saint John’s.
2018 – The Saint John's Bible is acquired by Siena College.
The scholarship behind the SJB was led by the Committee for Illumination and Text (CIT). Fr. Michael Patella, O.S.B., chaired the committee of artists, theologians and biblical scholars.
The translation of this Bible is the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV).
Six calligraphers, including Mr. Jackson, handwrote all 1,150 pages on approximately 300 sheets of calfskin vellum.
A Jewish scribe drew the Hebrew script.
Six artists, including Mr. Jackson, created over 160 major illuminations.
The art of the SJB is inspired by artistic traditions from around the world.
The 73 books in The Saint John’s Bible are organized in the following seven volumes:
Pentateuch (Old Testament)
Historical Books (Old Testament)
Wisdom Books (Old Testament)
Psalms (Old Testament)
Prophets (Old Testament)
Gospels & Acts (New Testament)
Letters & Revelation (New Testament)
Facts about the Heritage Edition of the Saint John's Bible
In order to share the SJB with the world, Saint John’s asked Donald Jackson to direct the creation of the Heritage Edition.
The Heritage Edition is the only full-scale, illuminated, fine art edition of the Bible.
Limited to only 299 seven-volume sets, Mr. Jackson’s goal was to make the Heritage Edition "true to the artistic intent of the original."
Each volume is authenticated and initialed by Mr. Jackson.
The Heritage Edition represents a major international collaboration.
Mr. Jackson traveled from Wales to Minnesota on a regular basis to direct the Heritage Edition’s creation.
Fine book printing experts from England and the US provided invaluable direction.
Hill Museum & Manuscript Museum imaged all 1,150 original pages in ultra-high resolution.
New Hampshire’s Monadnock Paper Mills produced the cotton paper used in the Heritage Edition.
Germany’s Heidelberg Druckmaschinen AG provided the offset lithographic printing technology required for the Heritage Edition.
An Italian-based tannery supplied the custom calfskin leather used in binding the Heritage Edition.
The binding’s headbands were hand-sewn in Pakistan.
All 1,150 pages for all 299 volumes are hand-stitched and bound in Arizona.
No two Heritage Editions are identical because many illuminations required hand treatments by the Scriptorium’s studio manager, Sarah Harris.
True to the SJB’s mission, a wide spectrum of institutions around the world have acquired the Heritage Edition including:
Vatican Museum and Vatican Library
St Martin-in-the-Fields Church in London
Morgan Library & Museum
To date, over 100 Heritage Editions have been acquired around the world.
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