For the first time, Anderson University will be participating in The Saint John’s Bible exhibit program, “A Year With The Saint John’s Bible,” where students, faculty, staff, and visitors can explore seven volumes of the hand-illuminated Bible. The exhibit opens on Monday, August 25 and will close March 6, 2015.
Standing at two feet tall, The Saint John’s Bible is the first completely handwritten and illuminated Bible commissioned in 500 years. Nicholson Library Director Janet Brewer attended The Saint John’s Bible exhibit at Saint John’s University in Minnesota. Brewer learned that The Saint John’s Bible is split into seven volumes full of intricately designed illustrations and handwritten on 1,150 pages.
[Photo: Death of Moses, Donald Jackson, Aidan Hart, Sally Mae Joseph, Thomas Ingmire, Copyright 2002, The Saint John’s Bible, Saint John’s University, Collegeville, Minnesota USA.]
The Saint John’s Bible was completed by a group of scholars, calligraphers, and artists led by Donald Jackson, a British calligrapher. The New Revised Standard Version of the Bible was used when constructing the Bible because “they thought it would appeal to the masses,” said Brewer. “They wanted to make the scripture come alive for the 21st century.” The Saint John’s Bible is well-known for its intricately designed pictures and artistic beauty brought to life through dedication.
There are 299 sets of facsimile versions of The Saint John’s Bible that have been either bought by universities or sent as exhibitions all over the country. The Nicholson Library will host the exhibit program this fall, which will include lectures, workshops, and presentations in addition to the display.
Jim Triggs, executive director of The Saint John’s Bible Heritage Program, works as part of The Saint John’s Bible outreach team. Triggs’ job includes working with universities, churches, museums, and libraries who host the The Saint John’s Bible. By expanding the exhibit, he hopes to help the world experience inspiration through the hand illuminated Bible. “We feel honored to have The Saint John’s Bible on AU’s campus because the mission of this project aligns perfectly with the university’s mission, to educate for a life of faith and service in the church and society,” said Triggs. “The Word of God is meant to be shared and then acted upon. Our hope is that The Saint John’s Bible will inspire a life of faith, service and love of God.”
The Saint John’s Bible exhibit at AU will be one of only a few in Indiana. For the first six weeks of the exhibit, all seven volumes of The Saint John’s Bible will be at the Nicholson Library, in addition to framed prints of the illustrations.
Brewer believes the exhibit will be appealing to diverse groups on campus and provide a unique learning experience never offered before. “I hope students really are fascinated and that professors incorporate it into their classes,” said Brewer.
Dr. Shane Kirkpatrick, professor of biblical studies, is a part of the committee that is preparing for The Saint John’s Bible exhibit. “I was very excited to hear that AU had this opportunity, and it is gratifying to help make it happen,” said Kirkpatrick.
Kirkpatrick looks forward to giving his students the chance to view the Bible in a new way. “Not only will this be a rare opportunity for AU students to engage with The Saint John’s Bible and reflect on it in the form of an illuminated manuscript, but it also provides an opportunity for the larger surrounding community to learn about both The Saint John’s Bible and Anderson University,” said Kirkpatrick.
Brewer also mentioned the value of the exhibit for not only AU, but the surrounding community. She hopes it will bring new perspective to all who visit it. “I want people to have that sense of awe and wonder that art can bring and be inspired in some way,” said Brewer.
Through The Saint John’s Bible, Jackson had the desire to ignite spiritual imagination for believers throughout the world. “In the same way medieval Bibles reflected their times, this Bible reflects our world and values in the 21st Century,” said Triggs.
In the fall, The Saint John’s Bible exhibit will offer many new learning opportunities for students, faculty, and staff. “I hope students will have the opportunity to reflect on all the work, the care, the expense, the expertise, that goes into the production and transmission of Bibles. I encourage all students to go see the exhibit once they are open in the fall,” said Kirkpatrick. “We are planning to have a series of lectures, workshops, and other presentations to accompany the exhibit, so hopefully classes can make use of some of those events, perhaps even integrating them into the structure of a course.”
— Anna Rayis is a 2014 graduate from Columbus, Ohio, who majored in communication arts. Rayis was an associate with Fifth Street Communications®, writing on behalf of the Anderson University Office of University Communications.
Anderson University is a private Christian university in central Indiana. Anderson University continues to be recognized as one of America's top colleges by U.S. News and World Report, The Princeton Review, and Forbes. Established in 1917 by the Church of God (Anderson, Ind.), Anderson University offers more than 65 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in business, music, nursing, and theology.