Prior to the printing press, when book manuscripts were hand crafted, the high art form of illuminating manuscripts flourished. Books and Bibles were decorated in the margins, and the decorations almost always contained gold and silver that made the book and its text appear to glow.
After Gutenberg’s great invention, printed illustrations replaced illumination, and the art form has all but died out. Recently, Crossway commissioned an illuminated copy of the gospels by Makoto Fujimura. Today I’d like to highlight another recent project by Saint John’s Abby and University and Donald Jackson. This project, “The Saint John’s Bible,” is far more extensive, encompassing the whole Catholic Bible. Take a look at this seven minute video by the Church Alive, which provides a better, more visual introduction to this Benedictine project than I am able to provide in words.
This truly is a work of art in a classic, medieval tradition that combines calligraphy, historiation, and illumination. For those who are curious about the translation used, it’s the NRSV (Catholic Edition). According to the Augusta Chronicle, the project took 13 years to complete and cost eight million dollars! Now that’s quite a project!