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Bible to West Central Wisconsin Public Library Receives Heritage Edition Q&A with Donald Jackson New Embossing Techniques

The Newsletter of the Heritage Edition —

The Fine Art Edition of The Saint John’s Bible

Calendar of Events

Apostles Edition Gift to The Morgan Library

Matt Lauer interviews Donald Jackson about The Saint John’s Bible on the Today show. Photo by Tim Ternes.

Saint John’s Bible Featured on NBC’s Today Show “It’s spectacular. It’s a masterpiece.” That’s how NBC Today show host Matt Lauer described The Saint John’s Bible at the end of a segment broadcast on October 19. Donald Jackson appeared on Today with Lauer and discussed the completion of the project. The program featured original Bible pages and a Heritage Edition volume, along with video of the June 18 Bible’s completion celebration at Saint John’s. Throughout the segment Jackson and Lauer discussed the process and techniques used to complete the Bible in what Lauer called “a modern twist on this ancient work.” The Today show segment was fitting since Jackson and The Saint John’s Bible were also featured on Today at the beginning of the project in 1999. NBC’s Today show is the most-watched morning show in the country with an average viewership of over five million people per day. This segment on The Saint John’s Bible likely drew a diverse audience since an interview with Martha Stewart preceded the Bible feature and music performer Sting performed right after the segment. Archived video of the feature is available on The Saint John’s Bible YouTube channel at The next day, an Apostles Edition of The Saint John’s Bible was presented to B ible F eatured


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The Morgan Library & Museum in New York City houses one of the world’s greatest collections of medieval manuscripts and rare books. Through the generous offering of William Hueg and Hella Mears Hueg, the Morgan has added an Apostles Edition of The Saint John’s Bible to their holdings. On October 19, 2011, at a small gathering attended by the Hueg family and friends, Donald and Mabel Jackson and Saint John’s University representatives including president Fr. Robert Koopmann, OSB, the Apostles Edition was presented to William Griswold, director of the Morgan. Also on hand were John Bidwell, curator of Morgan’s printed book collection and William Voelkle, curator of Morgan’s medieval manuscripts. In his remarks, Donald Jackson expressed his gratitude to the Huegs for furthering the reach of The Saint John’s Bible through their sponsorship of the project. William Griswold reminisced about his growing interest in the Bible by noting his close association with Saint John’s. He had just been hired by the Minneapolis Institute of Art when The Saint John’s Bible had its first exhibition there in April 2005. Now that he is at the Morgan, he has taken his enthusiasm for the Bible and Saint John’s T he M organ L ibrary

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Featured News

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The Morgan Library & Museum in New York City. The Apostles Edition was given to the Morgan by Hella Mears Hueg and William Hueg, and was formally presented at a private ceremony Oct. 20 at the Morgan. The combination of the NBC Today show program and The Morgan Library & Museum presentation led to an article in the Huffington Post. This media


placement is also significant since the Huffington Post, with tens of millions of unique visits per month, is one of the five most read news websites in the country, along with The New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times and Wall Street Journal.

Local Philanthropists Unite to bring Bible to West Central Wisconsin

Just as it took a team of artists and scholars to produce the Heritage Edition of The Saint John’s Bible, it also took [Michael Hemmesch is the Director of the collaboration and cooperation within a Saint John’s University’s Media Relations.] mid-sized community to bring one of a limited number of signed editions to west-central Wisconsin. T he M organ L ibrary continued from page 1 In January 2011, a group of local J.P. Morgan purchased it in the early with him to New York. Griswold individuals in and around Eau Claire, a years of the twentieth century and it considered himself privileged to receive town of about 65,000 people, began to now is housed at the Morgan. the Apostles Edition for The Morgan champion an effort to acquire a Heritage William Hueg and Hella Mears Library & Museum. Edition of The Saint John’s Bible for their Hueg’s gift of the Apostles Edition to On hand and playing the role of old Chippewa Valley community. More The Morgan Library & Museum has and venerable relatives to welcome than 100 people, including 29 “founding allowed Saint John’s to participate in The Saint John’s Bible were a Gutenberg donors,” stepped forward to cover the the history of civilization. Not only will Bible and a spectacular page from the $145,000 to acquire the Bible. countless people both now and in the twelfth century Winchester Bible. Bidwell The benefactors, led by Dick Cable and future be inspired by The Saint John’s drew a parallel between the world’s first Duane Dingmann, asked the two major Bible, but they will also understand it Bible using moveable type and ink and hospitals in the city — Sacred Heart and within the great tradition of the world’s most recent Bible employing Mayo Clinic Health System — to jointly monasticism, medieval illumination, digital technology and artistic expertise. receive and maintain The Saint John’s Bible and early printing. It is a milestone in The Winchester Bible served as the as a gift to the community. The hospitals civilization. “We are delighted to give prototype for The Saint John’s Bible, agreed and began displaying the volumes this Apostles Edition to The Morgan and Voelkle gave a brief lesson on the in early September. Library & Museum,” said the Huegs, sequence of seventeen scenes from the “This Bible will serve as an inspiration “because we’ve always had a soft spot lives of Samuel, Saul, and David as to our patients and our visitors for years to in our hearts for the Morgan and for depicted on what art historians consider come,” said Dr. Randall Linton, president New York.” the most beautiful page of that Bible. and CEO of Mayo Clinic Health System in Eau Claire. Faye Deich, chief operating officer at Sacred Heart Hospital, agreed: “The Saint John’s Bible is not only a masterful work of art, it is also a living reminder to all of us of the importance of caring for the whole person — body, mind and spirit.” The health organizations were chosen as caretakers of the Bible because of their centralized locations and accessibility to Chippewa Valley residents, as well as their longevity to provide long-term stewardship. “This is a remarkable gift to the Tim Ternes, John Bidwell, Fr. Eric Hollas, Fr. Robert Koopmann, William Hueg and Hella Mears Hueg, community from a local group of William Griswold, Fr. Michael Patella, William Voelkle, Mabel and Donald Jackson. Photo by Rob Culligan. committed individuals in the Chippewa

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Dr. Randall Linton, Faye Deich and Jim Triggs at the presentation ceremony commemorating the receipt of Heritage Editions by the Sacred Heart and Mayo Clinic Health System in Eau Claire.

Guests of the Eau Claire hospitals admire a Heritage Edition volume.

Valley,” said Pat Quinn, board president of the Eau Claire Community Foundation, a local nonprofit organization which received funds to purchase the Bible. “It is a work of art we hope the community will treasure and appreciate always.” Cable first learned of the Heritage Edition through a museum exhibit while on a trip to Phoenix a number of years ago. He and members of a Christian

a place to display the volumes, Cable said he was surprised at how quickly everything fell into place. “My personal feeling is God had a hand in all of this, right from the beginning,” he said.

men’s group to which he belongs became increasingly familiar with it during retreats at Saint John’s Abbey. Following a presentation about the Bible in January, a group of men, which included Cable, gathered and decided they wanted to bring an edition to their home community of Eau Claire. Though it at first seemed like a daunting task to raise the funds and find

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[Paul Meznarich is the Communications Coordinator of the Mayo Clinic Health System in Eau Claire.

Public Library Receives Heritage Edition When Don and Dottie Hodapp first considered giving the Heritage Edition to Austin, Minnesota, the first priority was to make sure it would be available to the entire community — a community where they worked and raised their children over 37 years. The Austin Public Library was the perfect choice because it is uniquely positioned to share these exquisite volumes with patrons, as well as schools, churches and other civic groups. With community support, the Austin Public Library was built in 1996 to serve the 24,000 residents of this southeastern Minnesota city. The beautiful red brick library is home to just over 100,000 volumes — and now — The Saint John’s Bible. On October 30, 2011, Austin Public Library, Saint John’s University and over

100 guests celebrated the arrival of the Heritage Edition. The generosity of Don and Dottie Hodapp made all this possible. “This unusual gift is our thanks to Austin for the many wonderful years our family enjoyed living there. It is our hope that this Bible will be appreciated and enjoyed by all,” said Don Hodapp. Ann Hokanson, the library’s director, was thrilled to receive the volumes. “When I saw the books in person, I was blown away,” she said. “I have never seen a more beautiful book in my life.” Ms. Hokanson and her staff have big plans for displaying and sharing the volumes with Austin and surrounding communities. “It’s an amazing opportunity for the community. It will have a lot of wide appeal to book lovers.”

Don Hodapp talks with guests about he and his wife Dottie’s donation to the Austin Public Library. Photo by Eric Johnson and the Austin Daily Herald.

Becky Repinski, president of the library board concurs: “This gift will put the Austin Public Library and the city of Austin on the map in a new and profound way.”

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Noted & Celebrated

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Original folios of The Saint John’s Bible exhibited with photographs that explore how people of many faiths have responded to physical spaces within New Mexico. Photo by

Exhibition curators Caroline Lajoie and Tom Leech visit with Donald Jackson. Photo by Kate Nelson, New Mexico History Museum.

The New Mexico History Museum Photo by Blair Clark, New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs.

Blair Clark, New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs.

Contemplative Landscape Exhibition in Santa Fe On October 22, 400 supporters of the New Mexico History Museum in “The City of the Holy Faith” (i.e., Santa Fe) enjoyed a two-hour sneak peek of an exhibition featuring 44 pages from The Saint John’s Bible’s, followed the next day by more than 400 members of the public. The outpouring was a fitting tribute to a project that, in a way, had its genesis in New Mexico. In the early 1990s, Donald Jackson created a concept piece for the Bible while at Ghost Ranch in northern New Mexico, and that piece is included for the first time in the museum’s Illuminating the Word: The Saint John’s Bible exhibition, through April 7, 2012. The exhibition includes original pages from the Wisdom Books and Prophets volumes, along with an array of the tools used to create them. The museum added a page from the 550-year-old Gutenberg Bible, a sample of an early King James Bible, and even an e-book to demonstrate the evolution of the book arts. Sharing the Bible’s space and spirit is Contemplative Landscape, an exhibition of photographs that explore how people of many faiths have responded to physical spaces within New Mexico. The two exhibitions ring a large meditation area, where a gentle fountain invites visitors to slow down. The exhibition design was created by the museum’s Caroline Lajoie, Natalie Brown Baca, Tom Leech and Mary Anne Redding. “New Mexico is steeped in centuries of history, culture and religion,” said Dr. Frances Levine, director of the museum. “Our mission is to broaden the way we tell that history. Through these exhibits, we celebrate the master calligraphers, illuminators and photographers who provide us an entry point into the many communities of faith in New Mexico.”

Visitors have responded enthusiastically — including the opinion editor of The New Mexican daily newspaper, who wrote: “For believers and nonbelievers alike, the book is breathtaking, a work that combines the best of humanity — vision, creativity, artistic excellence and the determination to fulfill a dream.” Said another visitor: “I want to tell you how completely touched I was with what I witnessed in this exhibit. Actually, there was a point that I shed a tear, which has never happened in such a situation. The quiet of the meditation space, the spectacular visual ecstasy of the Illuminated Scriptures, and then the photographs. Honestly, it was a feast for the soul in every way.” Tom Leech, curator of the museum’s Palace Press, pulled together The Saint John’s Bible portion of the exhibition, an effort that began in 2005 when he heard Jackson present the project at a book arts conference. “It was love at first sight,” he said. “As a lifelong bibliophile, I knew there has simply never been a book like this one. Tim Ternes and everyone I spoke with at Saint John’s were just fantastic. Our questions were answered immediately and every request was given fair consideration. They have been a joy to work with.” Said Mary Anne Redding, director of the Palace of the Governors Photo Archives and curator of Contemplative Landscape: “Traces of faith have long been etched onto the New Mexico landscape, from early pictographs and petroglyphs, ruins and reconstructions of early kivas and churches, to developments like the Dar al Islam mosque outside of Abiquiu. These blackand-white photographs compliment the beauty of The Saint John’s Bible by contextualizing the history of faith across the state.” [Kate Nelson is the Marketing Manager for the New Mexico History Museum in Santa Fe, NM.]


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Value that Endures Fourteen years ago when we first discussed The Saint John’s Bible, we realized its uniqueness. But we also imagined its capacity to be a counter-cultural statement. In an age in which we could send an entire encyclopedia across the solar system via an electrical impulse, why would you spend all those resources on a piece of antiquated technology? The book has yet to go the way of the dinosaur, but even if it does I doubt that you will ever see people hauling their Gutenberg Bibles to the landfill. Even less likely are you to see the Book of Kells recycled into handbags or lamp shades. Clearly, then, some books have a utility beyond the materials used to make them. Time has infused into them a value that distinguishes them from the print ads that come with our Sunday papers. It is no secret that accountants stand among the high priests of society, and annual depreciation is the eleventh commandment. Even so, I seriously doubt that we will ever write down the value of The Saint John’s Bible until it is deemed worthless. In fact, it may even appreciate over the centuries. With only one original, 299 sets of The Heritage Edition, and twelve sets of the Apostles Edition, is it conceivable that five hundred years from now they will no longer have a shred of value? Probably not. One reason we can throw away conventional accounting is because The Saint John’s Bible defies accepted standards for durability. Not a few arched eyebrows greeted my suggestion that this Bible should last two or three thousand years. After all, the Gospel Book of Saint Augustine at Cambridge University is 1,600 years old and still going strong. If we replicated it, The Saint John’s Bible should have a similarly long life. I also began to cast this book in terms of investment opportunities. While the Bible involved a significant outlay of money, it compared favorably with other projects. For example, we shower a billion dollars on a football stadium that we will tear down in thirty years, and we deem it a wise expenditure. In comparison, a book amortized over three thousand years might just be one of the best bargains around. The value of The Saint John’s Bible rests neither on the cost of materials nor the billable hours needed to make it. Rather, its intrinsic value derives from other sources, including its potential life-span. In an age in which we make things that have a shelf life of a year or two, this Bible is a real anomaly. In our throwaway culture, anything meant to last 3,000 years mocks our short-term cast of mind. Symbolically, then, The Saint John’s Bible sets aside our fixation on the here and now. It recognizes the legacy of sacred

text and art that we have inherited from previous generations, even while it seeks to inspire both us and those who will come after us. It is a reminder that the universe is not solely about those of us living in the twenty-first century. Greater still is the Bible’s witness as a product of human imagination, working through human hands. Today machines Eric Hollas, OSB is the make nearly everything we touch, Senior Associate for Arts & and we wonder if we should make Cultural Affairs at Saint John’s University. Visit his anything with our own hands. Is there still room for human ingenuity, blog at: www.monkschronicle. even though there might be tiny flaws in the finished product? In fact, some have argued that the flaws constitute the true value in any human achievement. Not surprisingly, Donald Jackson’s illuminations teach this lesson with great finesse. Readers have been surprised by the bumble bees and monkey that hoist lines into place — lines missed by the scribes. On one level it is an expression of whimsy. All the biblical text is there, and it’s easy to figure out the proper order of verses. But it is done in a way that printers would never consider. And therein is the point to be made. For most of human history God has preferred to use the frail human hand to make His Bibles. The machine was our idea. In the same way, God prefers to use fallible human beings to do His work in the world. Had He wanted perfection, He would have made robots. So, as long as God continues to invest so much hope in us, can we do any less? The Saint John’s Bible, then, is a symbol of hope, and a symbol of our calling to make the Word of God live and endure on a page.

* Perspectives is a section of The Scribe that invites others to share their view of The Saint John’s Bible and its place in modern times. If you would like to contribute an essay, please contact Linda Orzechowski at

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First Person Donald Jackson

“All along, I have believed that if we stayed true to the vision of making the word of God alive on a page, it would speak to everyone, whatever they bring to it.” Donald Jackson is the artistic director of The Saint John’s Bible and of its art reproduction, the Heritage Edition. Donald recently took some time between press proof work to answer some questions for The Scribe.

Q: Donald, congratulations on the completion of this monumental journey. As a non-Catholic, was it a challenge working with a Catholic institution? Did you ever feel constrained or restrained, artistically?

A: No. I always felt encouraged to bring an open and questioning mind, in particular, to the briefs (the exegetical and theological content for the illuminated passages) which of course reflected an essentially Roman Catholic, Benedictine theology and tradition. Raised in the Methodist tradition, I became familiar with the bible stories without being imbued in theological or liturgical orthodoxy. Perhaps I brought innocence (some might say naiveté) to the project. All my questions were unfailingly answered with patience and respect. Throughout my working life as a freelance artist calligrapher, I have had to interpret and visualize clients’ verbal concepts into letterform and associated images. This always involves listening closely to what the client is saying and divining what it is they are really asking for (not always the same thing!). This experience helped me a great deal in working with the Bible’s Committee on Illumination and Text. I’d like to think that my final take on an illumination would always contain something of their unspoken wishes. Some of my sketch proposals must have seemed surprising or novel, but they almost always were inspired by what I was ‘hearing’ on a deeper level than their spoken or written words. Q:

e struggle at times to describe the Heritage Edition of W The Saint John’s Bible. Terms like “reproduction” and “facsimile” fail to convey the craftsmanship behind these stunning volumes. As the artistic director of both the original manuscript and the Heritage Edition, please explain the relationship between the two.

A: I prefer the words “interpretation” or “transformation.” The primary aim of the Heritage Edition is to capture the spirit of the original handwritten vellum pages, faithful to the “truth” of it rather than the surface of it. Even the bespoke paper was chosen not just for its looks but for how it feels to the touch; how its weight matches that of vellum as it turns and falls from the hand; how its surface accepts the printing ink like paint.

Because I have been responsible for both the original manuscript and the Heritage “interpretation,” I have been free to decide, for instance, where metal foil stamping will best capture the spirit of the original. In the fifth printed volume, (Historical Books) I discovered that selective hand-sanding of the metal foil helps it blend with the printed images. This is more in keeping with the original gilding process. Ultimately every one of these printed volumes will be unique. Each production stage requires my involvement and each stage requires the skills of expert craftspeople of our printing partners.


hen this all began in 1995, did you think W The Saint John’s Bible would have such wide appeal?

A: I always knew it would have a life of its own. Now I realize it has many lives. All along, I have believed that if we stayed true to the vision of making the word of God alive on a page, it would speak to everyone, whatever they bring to it. Q:

On the Today Show, Matt Lauer asked you what is next. You took a deep breath, thought for a second and quipped, “Well, my wife thinks retirement is a good idea.” You don’t seem like the retiring type. What is next?

A: The Saint John’s Bible remains center stage in my creative life. Two volumes in the Heritage Edition series are yet to be art directed and printed (Gospels and Acts followed by Letters and Revelation). Gospels and Acts is the biggest interpretive challenge because of the number of illuminations and the amount of gilding in the original. Letters and Revelation contains a powerful and intensely violent range of color at “full volume.” There are many exciting challenges to encounter over the next year. Ultimately, I realize that being so intensely and emotionally engaged with the Bible over the last 15 years has created in me a certain addiction to that relationship. It has continuously repaid my attention with insights and with increased understanding of the world around us. I doubt it will be possible to “retire” from that relationship now.

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Production Notes

Mike Nordberg and Kelly Bortz of The John Roberts Company make notes on Heritage Edition proof sheets under the direction of Donald Jackson. Photo by Craig Bruner.

New Embossing Techniques in the Gospels and Acts Volume The Scriptorium team and John Roberts Printing (Coon Rapids, Minnesota) continue their work on the next volume of the Heritage Edition. During the last week of October, Donald Jackson and his studio manager, Sarah Harris, provided their expertise on the Gospels and Acts volume. Focusing primarily on color work, the team corrected the color of the images on digital proofs against the original folios. The work was tedious but necessary to capture the intricate nuances of color and light. Filled with some of the most beautiful and iconic images in The Saint John’s Bible, this volume presents its share of challenges. Jackson and Harris worked with Dave McIntosh

from McIntosh Embossing (Minneapolis, Minnesota) to determine a way forward with the images created in molded gesso and gold. These images, by far, are the most difficult to interpret from the original work for print because the images in gold lie in relief on the pages. However, McIntosh was able to provide feedback that helped Jackson and the team interpret these images. By using multiple levels of gold and dies for embossing, the art for which is being created by Jackson, the images will come to life ensuring illumination; that is, the “play of light on gold when you turn the page.” [Craig Bruner is the Operations Consultant for the Heritage Edition.]

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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.

Calendar of Events Upcoming Events Featuring the Heritage Edition, Framed Prints and the Original Manuscript Original Manuscript

Print Exhibitions

Oct. 23, 2011 – April 7, 2012 Illuminating the Word: The Saint John’s Bible — An Epic Work of Art For the first time in New Mexico, selected pieces from the monumental work are on display at the New Mexico History Museum. This exhibit serves as a companion to Contemplative Landscape, an original exhibition of photography depicting New Mexico’s sacred spaces.

January 17 - February 26, 2012 (25 prints) College of Mount St. Joseph Cincinnati, OH March 24 - April 22, 2012 (25 prints) River Falls Public Library River Falls, WI April 3 - May 14, 2012 (17 prints) United Methodist Church of Whitefish Bay Whitefish Bay, WI

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.

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