The Scribe

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FA L L / W I N T E R



The Newsletter of the Heritage Edition —

The Fine Art Edition of The Saint John’s Bible



Bible Artists, Scribes and Staff Share Insights Follow the Journey Q&A with Brigham Young University Binding the Heritage Edition Calendar of Events

The Badger and the Bible: It Takes a Valley In 1955, by the end of his senior year on University of Wisconsin’s men’s basketball team, Dick Cable had scored 1,180 points, which was the school’s career scoring record at the time. Like many sports, basketball is loaded with statistics, percentages, and data. The game on the court is exhilarating, but you cannot help but keep score. By any measure Dick put up impressive numbers, especially considering that there was no three-point line in the 1950s. Fast forward sixty years. After a successful career in the insurance industry, Dick visited the Phoenix Art Museum and, by chance came across The Saint John’s Bible on exhibition. Dick was immediately enthralled and, upon returning to his Eau Claire, Wisconsin home, shared the discovery with his weekly prayer group with whom he had been meeting for over ten years. From a variety of Christian backgrounds, the group came together to enjoy great fellowship and friendship.

Because Dick’s enthusiasm is contagious, the group made the trek from Eau Claire to Collegeville to see original pages of The Saint John’s Bible at Saint John’s University. The mission of The Saint John’s Bible is “to ignite the spiritual imagination,” and these visits by the prayer group sparked all sorts of ideas. First, the Wisconsin prayer group began gifting trade edition copies of the The Saint John’s Bible to their families. While smaller than the original manuscript, these books are a great introduction to this work of sacred art. Next, a bigger, bolder idea took shape. Two of the major hospital systems in the Chippewa Valley area of Wisconsin are Sacred Heart Hospital and Mayo Clinic Health System (formerly Luther Hospital). The first has a strong Catholic foundation and the second has strong Lutheran roots. As a symbol of Christian and interfaith unity and, more importantly, as a gift to those in need of hope and healing, the group decided CONTINUED ON PAGE

Study Group members and Sacred Heart Hospital Spiritual Directors, seated (l to r): Jim Pinter, Msgr. Edmund Klimek, Dick Cable. Standing: Phillip Anderson, John Ailie and Neil Nelson.

Heritage Edition volumes are on permanent display at Sacred Heart Hospital and Mayo Clinic Health Systems in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. Photo courtesy of the Mayo Clinic Health System.


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Featured News


“It (the Bible) certainly made an impact on all our lives. We don’t come out at the end like we went in (at) the beginning. I hope the general public, when they see it, will get from it what we have put into that it is made by hand, with care and love and (we) put our own persons into that….and I hope that comes off the page.” — BRIAN SIMPSON, SCRIBE Bible artists, scribes and staff gathered to celebrate the project’s completion in May 2011. Photography by Greg R. Anderson

Bible Artists, Scribes and Staff Share Insights The Saint John’s Bible is an amazing achievement and work of art because it was created by an incredibly talented group of individuals. The experiences, skills, background and personal stories of the members of the Creation Team are as much a part of the Bible project as are the graceful words on the pages. To help share those stories, The Saint John’s Bible website has recently added an interesting and captivating new feature. In May 2011, most of the Creation Team gathered at the Welsh home of Donald and Mabel Jackson to celebrate the completion of the Bible pages. This was the first time that the team had been together in one room during the entire fifteenyear project. They shared stories, memories and poured over the pages of Letters and Revelation, the final volume in the project.

As part of the festivities, each member completed a video interview to talk about their individual experiences working on the project. These interviews provide rare insights into the making of the project and the community of people behind the pages. These stories and interviews are now available for you to enjoy on The Saint John’s Bible website. Each Creation Team member has an individual webpage ( process/people.htm) which features a photograph of the member and a short biography along with the video interview. These personal stories are sure to enhance your appreciation of the work these gifted individuals did to make The Saint John’s Bible a reality.






to figure out a way for these two hospitals to share the seven volumes that make up the Heritage Edition, the fine art reproduction of The Saint John’s Bible. Here is where numbers come back into play; in this case, it’s The Saint John’s Bible with assists from Dick, the Eau Claire prayer group, the Chippewa Valley Community Foundation, three hospitals and many others in Chippewa Valley. • Thanks to 29 donations of $5,000 each, Sacred Heart Hospital, Mayo Clinic Health Systems and St. Joseph


Hospital now have the Heritage Edition volumes on display. • As news of The Saint John’s Bible spread, 21 trade editions of the Bible are now on display in churches, galleries, retirement centers, and other institutions in the region. • Dick has also heard from families in the region. Close to 60 homes have the trade editions of The Saint John’s Bible.

• Dick Cable scored 1,180 points in his collegiate career. There are 1,150 pages in The Saint John’s Bible. Is it too late to ask Donald Jackson to add 30 pages to The Saint John’s Bible? [ Jim Triggs is the Executive Director of the Heritage Program of The Saint John’s Bible.]

• The prayer group’s vision remains the same: “Chippewa Valley and Beyond: That We All Shall Be One.”

Follow the Journey The Heritage Edition plays a vital role in realizing The Saint John’s Bible’s mission, which is “to ignite the spiritual imagination around the world.” While the original manuscript resides at Saint John’s University (Collegeville, Minnesota) and is exhibited in museums around the country, the Heritage Edition is the only full scale, illuminated version of this Bible that is bound and truly accessible. To date, the Heritage Edition is on exhibit in over 80 locations around the world. Colleges and universities (both public and private), churches, hospitals, schools and libraries have developed excellent programming which gives visitors a chance to learn more about The Saint John’s Bible. At many of these locations, people have the opportunity to turn pages, feel the weight of the cotton paper, and look closely at the illuminations which reflect light on Scripture — both figuratively and literally. It is this physical presence with this Sacred Text that makes all the difference. If you would like to see the Heritage Edition in your community, our website can show you the way. Visit www. htm to follow the journey, and to read

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inspiring stories about institutions that are displaying the Heritage Edition. If you would like contact information for any of these institutions, contact Kerry Werlinger either by email at or by phone at 320-363-2611. [ Jim Triggs is the Executive Director of the Heritage Edition Program of The Saint John’s Bible.]

INTERNATIONAL PRESENCE OF THE HERITAGE EDITION Vatican Museum of Art | Rome, Italy Papal Library | Rome, Italy St. Martin in-the-Fields | London, United Kingdom Regis College | Toronto, Canada St. Mary’s University College | Calgary, Alberta, Canada Australian Catholic University | North Sydney, Australia New South Wales Library | Sydney, Australia A YEAR WITH THE SAINT JOHN’S BIBLE Mary Immaculate College | Limerick, Ireland

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First Person “The faculty has been especially interested in showing these volumes to their students, not just as examples of how books were produced in the days before printing with moveable type, but also as exemplars of the craftsmanship that is still possible.”

Russ Taylor, Supervisor of Reference Services, Perry Library, Brigham Young University.

Dr. Kristian S. Heal of the Center for the Preservation of Ancient Texts, Brigham Young University.

Through on-campus organizations such as the Collegeville Institute, the Episcopal House of Prayer, the Jay Phillips Center for Interfaith Learning, the School of Theology • Seminary and the Hill Museum & Manuscript Library, Saint John’s University has a rich history working and collaborating with other faith-based institutions around the world. As Bill Cahoy, dean of Saint John’s School of Theology • Seminary explains, “It is because we’re Catholic that we have an obligation to foster and build these relationships.” In 2013, Brigham Young University became the first Mormon institution to acquire the Heritage Edition. Saint John’s is honored that the seven-volume set is now housed in the Harold B. Lee Library on Brigham Young’s campus in Provo, Utah.


The Harold B. Lee Library has an impressive collection of manuscripts from a variety of denominations and faith traditions. What makes The Saint John’s Bible volumes such a good fit for your institution?

A: First of all, these volumes are beautiful works of art in terms of

Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University. Photo courtesy of Brigham Young University.

the calligraphic style, the spectacular illustrations, and the gorgeous bindings. Secondly, our students, who are devoutly religious, have a great appreciation for the word of God and the scribal traditions (both ancient and modern) that have passed these sacred volumes down to us. We have had religion and humanities classes, book binding and calligraphy students, and book and graphic design groups examine these volumes in the course of their classroom instruction. Uniformly, they have all expressed an appreciation for the work of the scholars and artists who produced these works.


Brigham Young University is the first Mormon institution to acquire the Heritage Edition. What has been the reaction to The Saint John’s Bible from students, faculty and staff?

A: Some of our students had heard of The Saint John’s Bible project and were delighted to find out that the university owned a set of these wonderful books. Others, who had studied medieval manuscripts, were immediately taken by the beauty of these volumes and recognized the tremendous effort and skill that went into completing this work.


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Russ Taylor shares a Heritage Edition volume with interested guests. Photo courtesy of Brigham Young University.

Q: Guests carefully look through Brigham Young University’s newly acquired Heritage Edition Gospels and Acts volume. Photo courtesy of Brigham Young University

The faculty has been especially interested in showing these volumes to their students, not just as examples of how books were produced in the days before printing with moveable type, but also as exemplars of the craftsmanship that is still possible.


How do you plan to share The Saint John’s Bible on campus and with the larger Utah community?

A: As part of our National Archives Month activities in October, we had an unadvertised showing of one of the volumes in our student union, which attracted several hundred students. We took two of the volumes for afternoon showings in the libraries of Southern Utah University in Cedar City and Utah Valley University in the neighboring community of Orem. Each showing attracted 60-70 students from these institutions. Many of our visitors lingered for an hour or more looking carefully through the books we took with us. The highlight of our activities, however, was a Friday evening open house showing of all seven volumes in our classroom that attracted between 200-300 people from the community and the campus. There were a number of denominations represented among our visitors, and we have emphasized in our publicity for these events and in interviews by local news stations our willingness — indeed, our desire — to bring these books to local congregations to enjoy in their own meeting places. Because of The Saint John’s Bible and other examples of print and manuscript bibles in our collections, we have become one of the preferred stops for visiting pastors and religious leaders of other faiths when they come to campus.

Through previous collaborations between BYU’s Center for the Preservation of Ancient Religious Texts (CPART) and Saint John’s Hill Museum & Manuscript Library (HMML), our two institutions have a history of working together. Do you see BYU’s possession of the Heritage Edition moving us toward more projects mutually benefitting both our institutions?

A: BYU has enjoyed a close and productive relationship with HMML because of our shared interest in preserving and providing greater access to the manuscript patrimony of the Christian Middle East. Of course, the scope of the projects are quite different — in fact, BYU’s Center for the Preservation of Ancient Religious Texts felt a little like John the Baptist, preparing the way for the greater things that HMML would go on to do! Nonetheless, we are each contributing in our own way. BYU’s acquisition of the Heritage Edition nicely symbolizes the challenge of the next decade, which is to facilitate encounters with manuscripts. Thousands of manuscripts are now available to scholars, and we need to find creative and productive ways to bring the scholars and the texts together. There is also a need, however, to raise awareness and engage in public humanities — bringing the joy and insights of manuscripts to the masses. This will involve regular and varied virtual exhibits, engaging websites that place the manuscripts in context and explore their significance, and so on. There are lots of opportunities for collaboration in this next phase of mutual interest and effort. There is nothing like an encounter with an actual manuscript, though, to spark interest in the subject more broadly; and this is why the Heritage Edition is so important to BYU and CPART and to future collaboration. It provides an opportunity for the kind of hybrid experiences, real and virtual, that will be so enriching for the scholars, students, and the interested public. [Russ Taylor (Supervisor of Reference Services/Department Chair, Perry Special Collections) and Dr. Kristian S. Heal (Center for the Preservation of Ancient Religious Texts), Brigham Young University.]

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LESSON LEARNED Through my work for Saint John’s University and the Heritage Program, I often speak to groups and individuals about The Saint John’s Bible. It is a great job because many of our audiences are not familiar with the project and I get a front row seat to witness people’s reactions as I turn the illuminated pages of the Heritage Edition. The typical reaction begins with a sense of awe and wonder which is quickly followed by a litany of questions. I am neither a biblical scholar nor an artist, so the information and insight I offer in these presentations were passed on to me through the books I have read on this Bible by Susan Sink, Michael Patella, OSB, and Christopher Calderhead; by attending lectures on the subject by Eric Hollas, OSB, and Tim Ternes, Director of the Bible Project; and through my conversations with Donald Jackson and other artists. Each offers unique perspectives and, together, they provide an abundant resource for telling The Saint John’s Bible story. But as teachers know, education is a two-way street and quite often the audience is teaching me. A few years ago I was presenting the Pentateuch volume to a Jewish man who was quite interested in The Saint John’s Bible. The last illumination in Deuteronomy is Death of Moses, a beautiful illumination of the final days of Moses by iconographer, Aidan Hart. As an aside, I said to the gentleman, “This part of the Bible always bothered me. After this amazing adventure of leading the Israelites out of bondage, through the desert, and, finally, to the edge of the Jordan River, Moses was not allowed into the Promised Land. Why? Because he struck the rock with his staff twice, not once. Isn’t that a technicality? Where’s the justice? Where’s the Hollywood ending?” My Jewish friend smiled politely and replied, “I see your point, but I don’t see disappointment in his face. Let me explain. When I was in temple as a child, I was taught that Moses is a parent figure and like all good parents, there is a time to let go. This illumination communicates that wonderfully. As I look at his face, I don’t see disappointment. I see worry, concern, and love — the same feelings every parent experiences when it’s time to let go.” Lesson learned. [ Jim Triggs is the Executive Director of the Heritage Edition of The Saint John’s Bible.]

Death of Moses, Donald Jackson, Aidan Hart, Sally Mae Joseph, Thomas Ingmire, Copyright 2002, The Saint John’s Bible, Saint John’s University, Minnesota USA.

Production Notes


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BINDING The Saint John’s Bible HERITAGE EDITION You might think that binding the Heritage Editions is a bit of an afterthought. After all, thousands of hours and countless discussions went into the creation of the images to get them to be true in their artistic intent to the original work. How hard could it be to put the sheets in a leather cover and ship them out to subscribers? As with everything to do with The Saint John’s Bible, not a stone was left unturned to ensure the functionality and the longevity of the sheets once they are encased in the binding. Since the foundation of a book is its paper, let us take a look at how the cotton paper came to be. The paper for the Heritage Edition is bespoke, that is, made specifically for the Heritage Edition. It is not possible to go to a paper vendor and pick out the paper for the Heritage Edition from a set of sample sheets. The paper had to be custom made by Monadnock Paper Mill in Bennington, New Hampshire, for two reasons. It had to be 11 microns in thickness to closely approximate the weight of the vellum in the original work, and the grain of the paper needed to run from top to bottom instead of the traditional spine to foredge. The direction of the grain is critical to the Heritage Edition. Due to the thickness of the paper, if the grain ran from spine to foredge, the turning resistance would have been strong, reminding the turner of poster board. Running the grain from top to bottom allows the pages to roll beautifully as they turn and provides for very little turning resistance. Finally, the grain running from top to bottom allows the pages to be scored and folded easily so that the book, when open, lies almost flat. This allows for many of the illuminations, whose images go all the way into the gutter, to be seen completely. Once the paper is made and the images printed, sets of three four-page folios (called signatures or nestings) must be sewn together. Again, it might seem that this something that could be taken for granted; it’s just needle and thread. However, after having taken the care to produce the paper such that it lends itself so nicely to folding and turning, it would be a shame to sew the pages together so tightly that the book doesn’t lay flat enough to enjoy the images. Ivelina Seykova at Roswell Bookbinding is the person who sews the pages together by hand. It must be done by hand because only by hand can you tell how much tension is on the thread. Her experience yields a volume that lies perfectly. Now, what to use to encase the wonderfully printed and sewn bespoke sheets? Leather and board. But not just any leather.

ABOVE: Ivelina Seykova carefully sews Heritage Edition pages together by hand. LEFT: A Heritage Edition footband. Photography by Craig Bruner

In 2007, when we first started binding volumes, each volume was bound in buffalo calfskin. The natural mottling and grain (buffalo are wrinkly) and the smell of the leather communicated the highest of quality. Since 2007, two vendors of leather have gone out of business and one produced skins that were simply unusable. We are on our fourth leather vendor, and while the skins are now calf instead of buffalo, we have worked hard to ensure that the natural grain and smells remain intact. If you look closely at the leather, you will see imperfections. We decided early on that we would not impress a texture in the leather to cover these imperfections. We would leave it natural. Animals get injured or bitten by insects, and those injuries heal producing “imperfections” in the leather. It is these “imperfections” that give the leather character. The message in the leather is profound. Books of this quality need headbands and footbands. The simplest way of creating headbands and footbands is to take a long strip of leather and, using a machine, sew thread over the strip of leather. Then the machine, or a person, cuts the strip of leather in pieces and glues the threads on the ends of each piece so that it does not unravel. The problem with using this system is that it creates an unfinished look on the ends of the headbands and footbands. Fortunately one of our bookbinders knows a CONTINUED ON PAGE


Non-Profit Org. U.S. Postage PAID Saint John’s Univ.

SAINT JOHN’S UNIVERSITY Heritage Program PO Box 7222 Collegeville, MN 56321

To see a complete listing of Saint John’s Bible events, visit: and click on “See the Bible.” You can also follow the journey of The Saint John’s Bible on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Regular updates, advance notices of new publications and photos of new illuminations can all be found on these social media sites.

Upcoming Events


Featuring the Original Manuscript, Heritage Editions and Framed Prints ORIGINAL EXHIBITIONS Exhibition opened February 25, 2013 Hill Museum & Manuscript Library Saint John’s University | Collegeville, MN December 5, 2013 through March 2, 2014 Canton Museum of Art | Canton, OH March 21 through April 23, 2014 Society of the Four Arts | Palm Beach, FL

PRINT EXHIBITIONS November 26, 2013 through December 29, 2013 Arts on Grand | Spencer IA

January 3, 2014 through February 1, 2014 Arts of the Albemarle | Elizabeth City, NC March 19, 2014 through April 16, 2014 The Well | Saint Paul, MN

HERITAGE EDITION EXHIBITIONS January 10, 2014 through February 21, 2014 Bachman Fine Arts Center, Wartburg College | Waverly, IA February 2, 2014 through April 6, 2014 Saint Mary’s College Museum of Art, Saint Mary’s College | Moraga, CA

About our Exhibitions: Heritage Edition exhibitions feature Heritage Edition framed prints and/or Heritage Edition volumes. Print exhibitions feature framed high-quality, fine art gicleé prints. Exhibitions of the original manuscript are a unique opportunity to see unbound pages of the original artwork.



woman in Pakistan that agreed to create all of our headbands and footbands by hand. The results are deftly finished ends on the bands that will not unravel. Finally, the book is encased in the handcrafted binding. This process is also completed by hand and each volume is laid in a book press overnight to ensure the end sheets are stable. In the final step, holes are drilled and a solid silver decorative piece laid in its place on the cover. These processes and materials combine together to create a binding that not only functions perfectly, as it should, but also portends the beauty of the imagery and Word contained within the covers of The Saint John’s Bible Heritage Edition. [Craig Bruner is the Operations Consultant for the Heritage Edition.]

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