First Modern Illuminated Manuscript of 'The Saint John's Bible' to Be Displayed at Duquesne University

An illuminated Bible created by using the materials and techniques of medieval manuscripts will be displayed to the public at an upcoming Duquesne University exhibition.

A celebrated work of art and theology, The Saint John's Bible Heritage Edition will be on display in Duquesne's Gumberg Library's fourth floor Popular Reading Room from Monday, Nov. 11, through Friday, Dec. 20. The Heritage Edition is a full-size fine art edition of the original manuscript.    

The Saint John's Bible- a seven-volume handwritten, hand-illuminated, large-format manuscript, was commissioned by the Benedictine monks of Saint John's Abbey in Minnesota. Beginning in 1995, artistic director and renowned calligrapher Donald Jackson led a team of 23 artists, scribes and assistants who worked together for close to 15 years to complete the monumental manuscript. The original folios of The Saint John's Bible are on display at the Hill Museum & Manuscript Library in Collegeville, Minn.   

The Rev. James McCloskey, C.S.Sp., senior advisor to Duquesne's President Ken Gormley, says of The Saint John's Bible, "Since the early centuries of the Church, Benedictine Monks have illuminated manuscripts of the Bible in extraordinarily beautiful ways. This latest project is a contemporary attempt to be faithful to that legacy."  

Bound in leather, and featuring vibrant calligraphy and imagery, The Heritage Edition serves an extension of the original work. This fine-art edition allows viewers to closely examine and interact with the artistry, care and devotion present on each page. University Librarian Dr. Sara Baron says the works must be viewed in-person to understand the meaning they hold.  

"Throughout the work, gold leaf represents the divine. Special lighting will help visitors see the mastery, the beauty and the divine that transcends the page." Dr. Baron continues, "Rarely do we have the opportunity to so closely link the mission of the University, the great history of illuminated books and the sacred Word with a modern work of art that embraces science, technology and a spirit of inclusivity."  

Additionally, Tim Ternes, director of The Saint John's Bible at the Hill Museum and Manuscript Library, will give a public lecture on Tuesday, Nov. 19, from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. The display and events are co-sponsored by Gumberg Library and the Division of Mission and Identity.

For more information about visiting hours and other events, visit www.duq.edu/tsjb.  

Duquesne University

Founded in 1878, Duquesne is consistently ranked among the nation's top Catholic universities for its award-winning faculty and tradition of academic excellence. Duquesne, a campus of nearly 9,500 graduate and undergraduate students, has been nationally recognized for its academic programs, community service and commitment to sustainability. Follow Duquesne University on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
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