Chapel Art Center Exhibition Highlights The Saint John’s Bible

September 21, 2017

By Laura Lemire

Since September 2016, the Geisel Library has had on display Gospels and Acts, one of the seven volumes of The Saint John's Bible Heritage Edition. To mark the conclusion of the manuscript's year-long stay at the college, the Alva de Mars Megan Chapel Art Center has selected framed pages to exhibit in the gallery until September 23. Pages on view are from additional volumes of The Heritage Edition, including The Pentateuch, The Prophets, and The Psalms.

The Saint John's Bible Heritage Edition is an illustrated, fine press reproduction of a hand-illuminated Bible commissioned by the Benedictine Saint John's University and Abbey. Finished in 2011, it was the first hand-illuminated Bible in 500 years.

Since it arrived on campus a year ago, the library has hosted several events where students and faculty were welcomed to examine and explore the bible closely. In November 2016, Benedictine monk and New Testament scholar, Father Michael Patella, O.S.B., lectured on "The Saint John's Bible: A Postmodern Interpretation of Sacred Scripture?"

Gospels and Acts and the history of its creation also took center stage during Benedictine Heritage week in March. It was available for hands-on access every day of the celebration in Archives & Special Collections on the upper level of the library. In addition, the paper supplier used for all volumes of The Heritage Edition, The Monadnock Paper Mills in Bennington, N.H., gave a presentation on the mill's history, the papermaking process, and its role in the creation of the Bible.

For the Feast of Saint Matthew on September 21, the Chapel Art Center offered an open house with the Bible, where members of the community viewed Gospels and Acts up close, turned its pages, and learned more about its creation.

The original Bible has been on view at Saint John's University in Minnesota since it was finished in May 2011. Scholars have compared the scope of achievement to that of The Sistine Chapel, and His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI stated, "This is a work of art, a great work of art...a work for eternity."