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The Illuminated Bible Project

by St John's University


   “One of the extraordinary undertakings of our time.”

                                                               Smithsonian Magazine


     In 1995, Saint John’s University and Benedictine Abbey in Minnesota initiated a major undertaking to produce a contemporary illuminated Bible using entirely medieval techniques and materials.  The Saint John’s Bible was executed by Donald Jackson, Senior Scribe to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth’s Crown Office, along with a collaborative team of scribes, artists, theologians and scholars.  The Saint John's Bible is monumental in size (2’ tall x 3’ wide when open) and produced on calfskin vellum using goose, turkey and swan quills; lamp black ink from 19th century Chinese ink sticks; cakes and powdered pigments mixed with egg yolk and water; gold leaf; and stencils and stamps used to apply paint and gold powder throughout.


   “This is a work of art, a great work of art ... a work for eternity.”

                                   His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI

pope-and-bible.jpg        illuminated-bibles.jpg