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The Saint John's Bible


A monumental achievement and historic undertaking: The Saint John's Bible is a major artistic, cultural and spiritual endeavor. It is the first handwritten and illuminated Bible commissioned since the invention of the printing press.

Donald Jackson, a world renowned calligrapher and illuminator, in collaboration with artists and theologians, has woven together word and image in this once-in-a-millennium project. Significant in both size and scope, The Saint John's Bible will be bound in seven magnificent volumes comprising nearly 1,100 pages, measuring 15 7/8 inches wide x 24 1/2 inches tall. The translation of the Saint John's Bible is the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV). It was chosen because it is theologically sound, and has the distinction of being officially authorized for use by major Christian churches.

Commissioned by the monks of Saint John's Abbey and University as a Bible for our time, The Saint John's Bible is a unique blend of ancient methods, materials and tools with modern themes, images, technology and text. Whether you have a deep reverence for Scripture, are drawn to the precise work of the quill, are an avid art collector, or are fascinated by the making of The Saint John's Bible, you now have the opportunity to take home the experience of this project through full-color, page-by-page reproduction books.


"One of the extraordinary undertakings of our time." Ė Smithsonian Magazine


"America's Book of Kells." - Newsweek

The Saint John's Bible


In the tradition of great medieval Bibles, The Saint Johnís Bible will be monumental ó two feet tall and three feet wide and more than 1,000 pages bound in seven distinct volumes.


Though each letter is rendered by hand, The Saint Johnís Bible uses state-of-the-art computer technology to create and manage page layouts.

It will interpret and illustrate scripture from a contemporary perspective, reflecting a multicultural world and humanityís enormous strides in science and technology. English translation and the themes of the Bible reflect the Church in the modern world.


Saint Johnís Abbey and University are dedicated to ecumenism. The text, translation and imagery in The Saint Johnís Bible reflect this commitment.



Illuminating the Word
The Making of The Saint John's Bible

Christopher Calderhead; Jerry Kelly, Designer

In this companion volume to The Saint John's Bible, Christopher Calderhead takes us on a behind-the-scenes tour of this extraordinary project. Based on hundreds of hours of interviews, this book tells the story of the makers of the Bible and the community at Saint John's Abbey and University. The day-to-day struggles of such a monumental undertaking included challenges such as the selection and preparation of more than 250 calf skins, as well as forming a team of calligraphers accustomed to working independently and communicating the concerns of the advisory council in Minnesota with the artists in Wales.

Illuminating the Word: The Making of The Saint Johnís Bible explores a modern version of an age-old relationship between patron and sponsor, and the artistic director, scribes and artists producing this monumental artwork. It describes lectio divina, the unique method the Benedictine monks use to read the Bible, in which the Holy Scriptures come alive through the power of imagination. It explores the challenge of creating new images for ancient stories. It chronicles the artistic techniques, the tools and materials and the workshop practices Donald Jackson used to create his lifetime masterpiece. Illuminating the Word reveals the working process behind one of the greatest undertakings of our time and vividly brings to life its challenges and triumphs.

Christopher Calderhead is a visual artist and graphic designer who has exhibited his letter-based works in the United States and Great Britain. He graduated from Princeton with a bachelorís degree in Art History. His early interest in the English Arts and Crafts movement and formal pen lettering led him to the Roehampton Institute in London, where he studied calligraphy under Ann Camp. In 1988 he was elected to Fellowship in the Society of Scribes and Illuminators.

In 1998 he obtained a Master of Divinity degree from Seabury-Western Theological Seminary. Ordained the same year, he has served parishes in the Church of England and the Episcopal Church USA.

He is editor of Alphabet, a journal of the lettering arts published by the Friends of Calligraphy. His series of short radio pieces, "Looking for Spirituality at Tate Modern," was broadcast on BBC Radio Cambridgeshire in 2002. His book, One Hundred Miracles, a collection of miracle paintings by the great masters, was published in 2004. He lives and works in New York City.

The Saint Johnís Bible and Illuminating the Word were commissioned by Saint Johnís Abbey and University as an expression of the Benedictine monksí daily focus on scripture and commitment to books, art and religious culture.

Hardcover with dust jacket, 240 pp., 9 5/8 x 11 3/8
(Item #87718) $39.95

Gospels and Acts 
Donald Jackson, Artistic Director and Illuminator

The first in a seven-volume series of full-color, page-by-page reproductions from The Saint John's Bible, Gospels and Acts has more than 25 illuminations, including full-page opening illuminations for each of the four gospels. Some of the prominent illuminations include the Genealogy of Jesus, the Birth of Christ, the Raising of Lazarus, the Crucifixion, Christ Our Light, the Last Supper, the Road to Emmaus, and Pentecost.

The Word of God, hand-illuminated through ancient methods by a contemporary master, brings the reader to an epiphany of the sacred. Those who allow themselves to savor the experience unfolding before them will come to see how Gospels and Acts beautifully marries text and image to serve the Word.

An internationally respected calligrapher, Donald Jackson is the artistic director and illuminator of The Saint Johnís Bible. He is a Senior Scribe to Her Majesty Queen Elizabethís Crown Office at the House of Lords in the United Kingdom, a position in which he is responsible for the creation of official state documents. He is an elected Fellow and past Chairman of the prestigious Society of Scribes and Illuminators. His 30-year retrospective exhibition, Painting with Words, premiered at The Minneapolis Institute of Arts in Minneapolis, Minnesota in August, 1988 and traveled to 13 museums and galleries. Donald Jackson works with a team of theologians and artists from Saint Johnís University and Abbey on The Saint Johnís Bible. From his scriptorium in Wales, he oversees scribes, artists, and craftsmen who work with him on the handwriting and illumination of the seven-volume, 1,150-page Bible.

Hardcover with dust jacket, 136 pp., 9 3/4 x 15
(Item #87717) $64.95

Donald Jackson, Artistic Director and Illuminator

The second in a seven-volume series of full-color, page-by-page reproductions from The Saint Johnís Bible, Psalms engages the eye and ear with five distinct scripts and exquisite illuminations that include digital voice prints of sacred songs from many ethnic and religious traditions.

The Book of Psalms or ďpraisesĒ is known as the prayer book of the Bible. For centuries, it has been a source of prayer, devotion, and inspiration. Part of the popularity of the Psalms is that they incorporate the entire breadth of human emotion and experienceójoy, fear, anger, loveóall the things we bring to God in our prayer.

Visual representations of chants from Benedictine, Native American, Muslim, Taoist and other traditions are the basis for illuminations of the Psalms. The varying pitch of the chants is rendered graphically to provide a motif for the abstract illumination. Every Psalm page features a small gold image that graphically renders the chanting of the monks from Saint Johnís Abbey. This process of reading of the Psalms is a continuous reminder that the Psalms are to be sacred songsóand that in such singing God is present.

Jackson chose colors to represent different themes, and designs to symbolize the different types of Psalms. He devised a way of weaving the two together that resulted in a unique script, colors and shading. Readers can identify the patterns representing the national history of Israel corresponding with the individual types of Psalms.

The way the Psalms appear in The Saint Johnís Bible provide a way to read our favorite Psalms with new eyes so that we might truly see the Psalms whether they are sung or read poetically.

Donald Jackson is one of the worldís leading calligraphers and the artistic director and illuminator of The Saint Johnís Bible. He is a Senior Illuminator to the Queen of Englandís Crown Office and is an elected Fellow and past Chairman of the prestigious Society of Scribes and Illuminators. His 30-year retrospective exhibition, Painting with Words, premiered at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in August, 1988 and traveled to 13 museums and galleries.

The launch of a national museum tour of the The Saint Johnís Bible began at The Minneapolis Institute of Arts in Minneapolis, Minnesota in April 2005 where record crowds greeted the inaugural exhibit during its three-month run. The Saint Johnís Bible will continue its national exhibition tour that includes museums and galleries from throughout the United States and Europe. Simultaneous exhibits at the Joslyn Art Museum in Omaha, Nebraska and The Victoria & Albert Museum in London, England are scheduled from January 21-April 16, 2006. The exhibition tour will continue on at The Tyler Museum of Art in Tyler, Texas, June 8-September 3, 2006; The Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., October 6-December 15 2006; The National Museum of Catholic Art & History in New York, JULY 318-July 27, 2007; The Phoenix Art Museum in Phoenix, Arizona, December 21, 2007-March 7, 2008; and The Mobile Museum of Art in Mobile, Alabama, October 10, 2008-April 10, 2009.

Hardcover with dust jacket, 80 pp., 9 3/4 x 15
(Item #87719) $59.95

The Illuminator and a Bible for the 21st Century

The longtime scribe to Her Majesty Queen Elizabethís Crown office used age-old calligraphic techniques to create a modern manuscript: egg yolks, gold, silver, and platinum in the illuminations; goose quills and hand-ground ink on carefully selected calf-skin vellum for the text. Experience for yourself the story of the most extensive scribal commission in the world since the end of the Middle Ages, a story that has not happened for a long time and probably will never happen again. Available in DVD or VHS. 49 Minutes; English.

DVD (Item #77700) $18.95
VHS (Item #77701) $18.95

To the Ends of the Earth: A Detail from Acts

Created by Donald Jackson with contributions by Sally Mae Joseph and Andrew Jamieson

This full-color exhibition poster from Illuminating the Word: The Saint Johnís Bible features To the Ends of the Earth, a detail from Acts. The poster was created for the exhibitionís national tour premiere at The Minneapolis Institute of Arts, April 2005.

Poster, 24" x 34"
(Item #87726) $10.95


Gospels Folio of Notecards

The Gospels Folio is a brightly colored collection of 10 distinct note cards featuring prominent images from the Gospels and Acts volume of The Saint Johnís Bible such as the detailed card from The Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes illumination.

1. Detail 2 from Baptism of Jesus
2. Detail 1 from Christ Our Light
3. Detail 2 from Christ Our Light
4. Detail 3 from Christ Our Light
5. Glory to God
6. And on Earth Detail
7. Special Treatment Luke 2
8. Gospel of Matthew
9. Lordís Prayer
10. Loaves and Fishes, Detail 2

(Item #39847) $14.95


Old Testament Folio of Notecards

The Old Testament Folio is a compilation of bold details from some of the most striking illuminations found in the Prophets, Psalms, Pentateuch, and Wisdom Books volumes of The Saint Johnís Bible, including two details from the cheerful Messianic Predictions illumination and eight other beautiful cards.

1. Vision of Isaiah Detail 1
2. Vision of Isaiah Detail 2
3. Messianic Predictions Detail 1
4. Messianic Predictions Detail 2
5. Detail from Psalms-III
6. Detail from Psalms-Center
7. The Lord Bless You
8. You Shall Be Holy
9. Virtuous Woman, Proverbs 31 Detail 4
10. Send Out Your Bread-Ecclesiastes 10

(Item #49857) $14.95


Upcoming volumes in the set:

ē Pentateuch #87720
ē Historical Books #87721
ē Prophets #87722
ē Wisdom Literature #87723
ē Letters and Revelation #87725

To place a standing order for an upcoming volume/s, please order online or call our book department at (314) 644-0643. We will ship each title as it is printed. 




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