Loyola University Chicago

Loyola University Museum of Art

Inscribing the Divine: The Saint John's Bible

August 20 – October 23, 2011

For the first fifteen hundred years of its production, every copy of the Bible was handwritten—some magnificently illuminated with gold leaf and paint. Contemporary calligrapher and illuminator Donald Jackson revived the tradition beginning in 2000 to produce a new bible for the Benedictine monks of St. John’s Abbey in Collegeville, Minnesota. He has brought a modernist aesthetic to a medieval practice. As he finishes its last pages, LUMA will exhibit thirteen bifolia from the books of Pentateuch and Psalms, including the illumination of the seven days of Creation, a modern masterpiece. Interwoven across the page of Psalms are voice prints of Benedictine chants as well as chants from other choral traditions, such as Buddhist monks and Native Americans. Shortly, the bifolia will be bound and the Bible will become a liturgical object at St. John’s Abbey.

Image: Creation, Donald Jackson with contribution by Chris Tomlin, Copyright 2003, The Saint John’s Bible, Order of Saint Benedict, Collegeville, Minnesota, USA.