University to exhibit Heritage Edition of The Saint John's Bible

People of all ages enjoy looking at the pages of the fine art version of The Saint John’s Bible. Photo by Mike Nyman

People of all ages enjoy looking at the pages of the fine art version of The Saint John’s Bible. Photo by Mike Nyman

This fall, Carson-Newman University will join a limited number of institutions world-wide to house a rare, full-size artistic reproduction of The Saint John’s Bible, the first handwritten and illuminated Bible in 500 years. Smithsonian Magazine has called the work “One of the extraordinary undertakings of our time.”

The public is invited to an opening celebration of the exhibit on Thursday, September 26 at 7 p.m. at First Baptist Church of Jefferson City. The event will feature Tim Ternes, director of The Saint John’s Bible at the Hill Museum & Manuscript Library in Collegeville, Minnesota, as he presents an in-depth look into the 12-year historic project and its results. A pre-event viewing of the Bible will be from 5:30 to 6:45 p.m.

“Because this monumental project is igniting the spiritual imagination of people all over the world,” said Carson-Newman University President Randall O’Brien, “we are excited to be the first institution to bring The Heritage Edition of the Saint John’s Bible to Tennessee. The opportunity to witness how God’s Word has inspired these gifted artists is one that is sure to be memorable,” said O’Brien, adding, “While this will serve as a valuable and inspirational resource for our students and professors, this exhibit is for anyone wishing to come and experience this timeless work of sacred art.”

The project has been described as a work of art that illuminates the Holy Text in a contemporary design for the 21st century.

One of only a few locations in the Southeast to exhibit the work, Carson-Newman joins a select group of universities, organizations and museums to house the Heritage Edition volumes including Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, Calif.; Yale University, New Haven, Conn.; Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn.; Naples Museum of Art, Naples, Fla.; and the Vatican Museum of Art, Rome, Italy.

A fine art reproduction of the original, which is housed at Saint John’s University in Minnesota, the Heritage Edition is the result of a process that engaged the finest printing experts and binders to ensure faithful representation of the manuscript. The entire project was overseen by Donald Jackson, the senior scribe to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s Crown Office at the House of Lords in London, England.

A world-class team of scribes, artists, and craftspeople guided its development from ink’s initial touch on vellum to the creation of the Heritage Edition. Each volume brilliantly maintains the awe-inspiring artistic intent of the original, which has been featured on NBC’s Today Show. Every one of its 160 illuminations and 1,150 pages has been scrupulously compared to its original counterpart to guarantee accurate reproduction.

The seven volumes that make up The Heritage Edition are approximately 2 feet tall by 3 feet wide when open and weigh about 20 pounds each. Limited in number, each is signed and numbered.

Following the opening celebration, Carson-Newman will exhibit all seven volumes of The Saint John’s Bible Heritage Edition, along with 10 framed prints featuring artwork from the project through October 23 in the University’s Ted Russell Hall. Carson-Newman will then house two volumes, the Pentateuch and Gospels & Acts, for the next year, displaying them for the public.

Check the Exhibit Schedule to see a calendar of availability.

To watch videos and read more information visit: http://www.cn.edu/saint-johns-bible

For more information specifically concerning the Sept. 26 event contact: nmeasels@cn.edu.

The Process

The Saint John's Bible is a work of art and a work of theology. A team of artists coordinated by Donald Jackson in Wales and a team of scholars in Central Minnesota have brought together the ancient techniques of calligraphy and illumination with an ecumenical Christian approach to the Bible rooted in Benedictine spirituality. The result is a living document and a monumental achievement.

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