The St. John's Bible Project, "Illuminating the Word"
Air Dates: July 14-16, 2012
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This week's guests on REPORT FROM SANTA FE are Tom Leech, Curator of the Press at the Palace of the Governors, New Mexico History Museum, and Tim Ternes, the Director of the St. John’s Bible Project. The Saint John's Bible is the first completely handwritten and illuminated Bible to have been commissioned by a Benedictine Abbey since the invention of the printing press. It took 15 years of painstaking work by some of the finest calligraphers, artists and theologians in the world to create The Saint John’s Bible a contemporary handwritten and illuminated Bible created by a team of artists and calligraphers at a Scriptorium in Wales. Before its pages are bound into volumes and placed on permanent exhibition by the Benedictine monks at Saint John’s Abbey and University in Collegeville, Minnesota, 44 pages from two of the Bible’s seven volumes, Wisdom Books and Prophets, are being exhibited at the New Mexico History Museum. The exhibit, “Illuminating the Word,” will be at the History Museum through the end of December, 2012. “I consider this to be the artistic equivalent of the Apollo moon mission,” said Tom Leech, curator of the Palace Press. “The Saint John’s Bible sets a standard of excellence in the 21st century that will never again be approached in our lifetimes.” The project took root at an early 1990s retreat at New Mexico’s Ghost Ranch, where Jackson developed a concept piece entitled Christ in the Desert, expanding on a lifelong desire to create a handwritten and illuminated Bible. In 1995, he presented the concept and his sketches to Saint John’s Abbey, where he received the go-ahead to develop a version of the entire Bible with illumination, calligraphy and the finest materials something with the staying power of 2,000 years. In 2000, he and a crew of artists and calligraphers began the first of 1,150 pages. Upon completion, the seven volumes will collectively weigh over 350 pounds and measure roughly 2’ tall by 3’ wide when open. Guided by a combination of artistic skill and cutting-edge computer-assisted layouts, the project takes its place among the milestones of sacred literature. --- Quotes: --- Pope Benedict XVI, upon seeing a completed volume of the Saint John's Bible, called it "a work for eternity." “At the dawn of the 21st century, Saint John's Abbey and University seek to ignite the spiritual imagination of believers throughout the world by commissioning a work of art that illuminates the Word of God for a new millennium." -- St. John's Bible Project Mission Statement