The Scribe

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The Newsletter of the Heritage Edition —

The Fine Art Edition of The Saint John’s Bible



La Roche College’s Acquisition of The Saint John’s Bible The Heritage Edition on display at the Crystal Cathedral Q&A with Greg Craven, Australian Catholic University Printing of the Heritage Edition Completed Calendar of Events

Heritage Edition Installed at Australian Catholic University Australian Catholic University (ACU) recently hosted the reception of the Heritage Edition of The Saint John’s Bible. ACU is the first institution in the southern hemisphere to own one of the 299 Heritage Edition sets. As the largest English speaking Catholic university in the world and as one of the fastest growing universities in Australia and the region, ACU engages the Catholic intellectual tradition to bring a distinct perspective to higher education. ACU opened on January 1, 1991 following the blending of four Catholic tertiary institutions in eastern Australia, institutions which had their origins in the mid-1800s. Through a series of amalgamations, relocations, transfers of responsibilities and diocesan initiatives, more than 20 historical entities have contributed to the creation of the University which is a member of the publicly-funded national system of Australian universities, the Association of Commonwealth Universities and the International Federation of Catholic Universities. A USTRALIAN C ATHOLIC U NIVERSITY



L to R: Ms. Fides Lawton (ACU Director of Libraries), Fr. Anthony Casamento (ACU Director of Identity and Mission), Prof. Greg Crave (ACU President), Fr. Eric Hollas, OSB (Saint John’s Abbey and University) and Prof. Anne Cummins (ACU Vice President for Students.) Photo courtesy of ACU.

Bill Cahoy, Dean of the Saint John’s University School of Theology•Seminary, addressing conferees of the ACCU. Photo by Jim Triggs.

Bible at Annual Gathering of Catholic Higher Education Institutions Washington, D.C. is the annual gathering spot for members of the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities (ACCU). On February 1, college and university presidents, mission officers and other cabinet level officers came to our nation’s capital to share ideas and collaborate on issues that are most pressing to Catholic higher education. This year’s theme, Finding Our Place in the New Global Commons, provided the framework for discussions on new strategies to confront new global realities; ways to expand students’ worldview; the ethical implications of globalization; and techniques for encouraging real conversation in the cacophony of the information age. Saint John’s University was one of the primary sponsors of the conference and four ACCU


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Featured News


Students and Community to Benefit from La Roche College’s Acquisition of The Saint John’s Bible On October 28, 2012, La Roche College, a private, Catholic, coeducational college north of Pittsburgh and founded by the Sisters of Divine Providence in 1963, celebrated a Jubilee Mass heralding its 50th anniversary. At this ceremony, the college also enthroned the The Saint John’s Bible Heritage Edition which will serve as a spiritual centerpiece during its anniversary year, as well as play a major role in the college’s future. “Being a Catholic college is at the very core of our mission at La Roche College, and as a Catholic college, all that we strive to do is informed and guided by the word of God. While God’s words are reflected in our actions and our programs, our acquisition of The Saint John’s Bible provides us with a way to make God’s word visible in a tangible sense,” explained La Roche College President Sister Candace Introcaso, CDP, Ph.D. “This Bible marks La Roche as an institution that is proud to assert its Catholic beliefs and the values which they reflect.” La Roche will display the volumes throughout the campus that the college shares with the Sisters of Divine Providence. Instructors are putting them to use including introducing all incoming students to the Bible during the freshmen La Roche Experience course. “Students learn how the Bible was made and get a hands-on opportunity to study it,”

Jubilee Mass in the Mother of Divine Providence Chapel at the La Roche College.

explained Sister Michele Bisbey, Ph.D., professor of religious studies and Ketteler Endowed Chair of Theology at La Roche College. “We are also in the process of developing courses around the Bible, including interdisciplinary courses for students in our religious studies and design classes.” There are many reasons why La Roche chose The Saint John’s Bible as a teaching tool. “I think that one of the most important things is that the Bible is accessible because of the translation. It is the first Bible in English — actually the only illuminated Bible in English; the rest are in Latin,” said Sr. Michele. “The Bible also draws attention to contemporary issues through illuminations drawn by the best Biblical scholars we have, combined with modern science and art,” she added. “The physical Bible was produced using ancient techniques such as quills and hand-ground ink, but is also available online so that students can turn every page of the Bible on the website. This is a wonderful combination; and for the students in our design programs, it’s phenomenal.” As an institution of higher learning that welcomes students of all religions and ethnic origins, it was important that The Saint John’s Bible speak to their needs as well. “This Bible weaves together various religious traditions through its words and art; it is ecumenical in nature,” explains Sr. Michele, adding that illuminations and text include everything from menorahs and Hebrew names to Islamic mandalas and Buddhist and Hindu chants. “Because La Roche’s mission is to nurture a global community, we appreciate that it draws together the best of religious traditions.” Bringing The Saint John’s Bible to La Roche College also brought together members of the community who raised all of the money needed to purchase the volumes through private contributions,

Rev. Peter Horton, Director of Campus Ministry and Community Service for La Roche College, was the celebrant for the institution’s Jubilee Mass and reception of the Heritage Edition. Photos by Jibran Mushtaq.

according to Michael Andreola, vice president for Institutional Advancement. “Benefactors believed that La Roche should have this treasure of spiritual and artistic significance,” he said of the fundraising campaign that began last January. The enthroning of the Bible and the 50th anniversary Mass was attended by benefactors, as well as local dignitaries and elected officials. Since its arrival at La Roche, The Saint John’s Bible has been used to educate those outside of its classrooms as well. A number of different groups have already contacted the college to arrange presentations about the Bible, including local parishes. “I think that it becomes a focal piece for the college; it allows us all to experience appreciation for the word of God,” she explained. “In an academic environment where words are central, this is the most important word, and the Bible allows us to have a visual artifact to draw people in. In enables us to talk about the many ways that God is present in our midst, as well as to present an evolution of salvation history.” [Vanessa Orr is a freelance writer for La Roche College and other clients in Pittsburgh, PA. (]


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Australian Catholic University’s Campuses

Strathfield Campus

North-Sydney Campus

Melbourne Campus

Brisbane Campus

Canberra Campus

in interfaith dialogue, a centerpiece of liturgies, and a luminous icon at the spiritual center of life on ACU campuses. We are delighted that staff and students at the university will have access to these inspiring and historical volumes.” The decision to purchase the set came after Fr. Anthony attended the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities (ACCU) Annual Conference in Washington, DC in late January 2012 and viewed some of the volumes that were on display in the conference venue. After arriving back in Australia, Fr. Anthony considered at first the “ Year with Saint John’s” program that had been piloted in the US, as a means of making the Bible available briefly to ACU staff and students. However, after a discussion with ACU’s President, Professor Greg Craven, they both agreed that it would be a far wiser decision to purchase an entire set. Fr. Anthony said that Professor Craven is a great believer in the importance of Catholic universities to be custodians of the cultural treasures of the Church, and so this made the decision much easier.

Fr. Eric Hollas, a Benedictine monk and priest from Saint John’s Abbey in Collegeville, Minnesota, USA — instrumental in establishing The Saint John’s Bible project — officially handed over the set of books to ACU President Professor Greg Craven at the University’s North Sydney Campus in mid-November 2012. Fr. Eric visited ACU to hold information sessions and provided comprehensive training for staff at the University in ways to effectively utilize, showcase and manage the complete set. ACU is a multi-campus University, with six campuses across the eastern states of Australia. With The Saint John’s Bible being separated into seven volumes, each ACU Campus library will receive one of the volumes for a short period of time to display before being rotated with the other campus libraries over time. It is envisaged that periodically, all volumes of the Bible will come together to be displayed in their entirety.



The University’s mission is to explore cultural, social, ethical and religious issues through the lens of the Catholic intellectual tradition in its teaching, research and service. By fostering and advancing knowledge in education, health, commerce, the humanities, the sciences and technologies, theology and philosophy, law, and the creative arts, ACU contributes to its local, national and international communities. ACU’s Director of Identity and Mission, Fr. Anthony Casamento, CSMA, who was the driving force behind the University’s decision to acquire a complete set of the Bible, said that the decision to invest in a set of volumes of the Heritage Edition was a logical acquisition for the institution. “With the largest faculty of theology and philosophy in the country, and the leading contributor to the Catholic theological tradition in the region, access to The Saint John’s Bible was a must for ACU scholars and students alike,” he said. “The mission of The Saint John’s Bible is to ignite the spiritual imagination, and the Bible will serve as an instrument for the University


[Fr. Anthony Casamento, CSMA, Director of Identity and Mission, Australian Catholic University.]

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Noted & Celebrated

On October 10, 2012, The Saint John’s Bible Heritage Edition was front and center at the Orange County Catholic Prayer Breakfast. This was the first-ever Catholic prayer service held within the world famous Crystal Cathedral, which is home to the future Christ Cathedral of the Diocese of Orange County. Over 1,200 people had the opportunity to see four volumes which were on loan from Heritage Edition subscriber, Tim Busch. “This is an annual ecumenical event that brings together our community to pray and celebrate our faith, and to do so within the Crystal Cathedral was especially inspiring and powerful,” said Father Christopher Smith, Rector and Episcopal Vicar of the future Christ Cathedral. Photography by Anthony Gomez.



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Voice Print Detail, Donald Jackson, Copyright 2004, The Saint John’s Bible, Saint John’s University, Collegeville, Minnesota, USA.


Psalms Frontispiece, Donald Jackson, Copyright 2004, The Saint John’s Bible, Saint John’s University, Collegeville, Minnesota, USA.

I had the privilege of serving on the Bible Project’s Committee on Illuminations and Texts (CIT) for several years. So asking the question, “What is your favorite illumination?” is a little like asking a mother which is her favorite child! Having sat with the question for a while, I have concluded that my “favorite” illumination is the one that was born with the most difficulty: the frontispiece for the book of Psalms. The CIT did not want to simply duplicate the work of medieval illuminators with, for example, a deer at Psalm 42 and sheep at Psalm 23. But what kind of illuminations could we suggest? To add to our challenge, it was suggested to us that illuminations be placed on as many pages as possible since the Psalms volume would be a popular book. As the lead member of the CIT for the Old Testament, I provided as much commentary as I could. One characteristic that I described was the division of the Psalter into five books in imitation of the Pentateuch. (Check the doxology at the ends of Psalms 41, 72, 89, 106.) This element intrigued the CIT and fascinated the project’s artistic director, Donald Jackson. Looking at the frontispiece for the Psalms, there are five panels resembling oriental screens, thanks to a suggestion of CIT member Sister Johanna Becker, OSB. (Becker was a professor of art history and was a specialist in Asian art.) At the beginning of each of the five books, screens appear again, the number of which coincides with the number of the book. It is, however, an element within the illuminations that captures my heart, an element designed by Jackson: golden voice prints on every page. These prints are a visual portrayal of the Psalms being sung by the monks of Saint John’s Abbey. The Psalms are a living word, not a dead letter. They are still prayed every day all over the world. My favorite illumination reveals that beautifully! [Sister Irene Nowell, OSB, is a Benedictine of Mount St. Scholastica in Atchison, Kansas. She is an adjunct professor at Saint John’s University’s School of Theology•Seminary; is an author of several books and numerous articles; was a member of the Committee on Illuminations and Texts for The Saint John’s Bible; and is past president of the Catholic Biblical Association.]

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First Person

“What has been most interesting has been the way in which the [Saint John’s] Bible has been received by both Christians and non-Christians on our campuses, all of whom recognize the uniqueness of this collection as a sacred text. Professor Greg Craven, lawyer and academic, commenced as President of Australian Catholic University (ACU) in February 2008. An expert in public law, Professor Craven has published numerous journal articles and four books. A regular contributor to public debate, he is a columnist for the Australian Financial Review. Greg Craven. Photo courtesy of Australian Catholic University.


Australian Catholic University’s (ACU) mission is “to engage the Catholic Intellectual Tradition to bring a distinct perspective to higher education.” How do you envision The Saint John’s Bible reinforcing its mission?

A: As a Catholic university, scripture and tradition nourish ACU in its mission. We believe that The Saint John’s Bible Heritage Edition is another resource that the university has to engage with its mission, by offering staff and students the opportunity to immerse themselves in the Word of God by means of this beautiful and outstanding work of scholarship, and draw from this in their teaching, research and learning. Q:

Speaking of missions, the mission of The Saint John’s Bible is to ignite the spiritual imagination of people around the world. (You can’t get more “around the world” than Australia!) Has the arrival of the Heritage Edition sparked the interest of students, faculty and staff?

A: There has been significant interest in the arrival of The Saint John’s Bible Heritage Edition from within the university community. In particular there has been specific interest in the collection from the university’s biblical scholars and library staff, the “custodians” of the collection for the institution. What has been most interesting has been the way in which the Bible has been received by both Christians and non-Christians on our campuses, all of whom recognize the uniqueness of this collection as a sacred text.

Q: Donald Jackson and the other illuminators were influenced by artistic traditions from a variety of cultures. For example, in the ‘Creation’ illumination, Mr. Jackson included images inspired by aboriginal rock art from Australia that go back 28,000 years. Given Australia’s rich history and cultural diversity, how do you see the general public in Australia responding to The Saint John’s Bible?

A: There has already been significant interest in The Saint John’s Bible from the wider Australian community. In particular the local church is very excited about the collection. A number of dioceses have already approached the university about using the Bible in events that are being held across the country, particularly in relation to the Year of Faith. There has also been interest from other libraries in Australia about The Saint John’s Bible, both from a sacred and an historical, literary context.


ACU is unique in that it has six campuses. What specific plans are in place to share the seven volumes throughout the university community?

A: Given that ACU is a multi-campus university (with six campuses across the eastern states of Australia) and that The Saint John’s Bible Heritage Edition is a seven-volume set, each ACU campus library will receive one of the volumes to display before rotating with the other campus libraries. It is envisaged that periodically all volumes of the Bible will come together to be displayed in their entirety. Staff from the university’s campus ministry program and libraries has undergone formation and instruction on the project so that they are able to host groups of staff and students for presentations on The Saint John’s Bible.


Production Notes

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PRINTING OF THE HERITAGE EDITION COMPLETED On August 31, 2012, the printing of the final volume of The Saint John’s Bible Heritage Edition, Letters & Revelation, came to a close. While its gold and silver treatments need to be applied and the volume bound, this date marked the end of a remarkable journey for the team from the Scriptorium, the John Roberts Company, and Saint John’s University. Donald Jackson once described this project as a “phenomenon of artistic interpretation” and one cannot turn through its more than 1160 pages without arriving at the same conclusion. In the more than seven years that have transpired from inception to completion, the Heritage Edition has seen its share of changes. In 2006, it was to be printed on a coated paper using line screens; the gold and silver treatments were to be over-printed with inks to recreate the three dimensional quality of the metals in the original work; the pages were going to be bound using archival book cloth. The printing of the Heritage Edition was going to be done without the art direction of Jackson because of his ongoing involvement art directing the original work. Fast forward to the present. The paper used is an uncoated cotton stock created specifically for the Heritage Edition and made to approximate the weight and thickness of the vellum used in the original. Stochastic printing is used in combination with UV inks and multiple special colors to bring the images to life and ensure their longevity. The gold and silver treatments are created using multiple layers of foil with strategic embossing to emulate the relief of the original. Italian calfskin covers the boards that bind the book block and a unique silver decorative piece and embossing specific to each volume adorn the cover. Jackson art directed every page of every volume to ensure that the way in which the Heritage Edition was interpreted was consistent with the artistic intent and spirit of the original. There are many treatments that are unique in the volumes, some of which have never been used in printing prior to the Heritage Edition. Silk handkerchiefs have been used to impress their texture on the gold to increase the surface area for reflection. The show-through of the image under the page, which is apparent on the translucent vellum, was carefully art directed and printed to emulate the original. Sarah Harris, Jackson’s associate art director for the Heritage Edition, hand-sanded many of the illuminations in Historical Books and Gospels & Acts, ensuring that no two volumes are alike. A single French fold in Gospels & Acts, and a double French fold in Letters & Revelation were used to compensate

Detail of Jacob’s Ladder, Donald Jackson, Copyright 2002 The Saint John’s Bible, Saint John’s University, Minnesota USA.

for the heavy embossing necessary to make the illuminations on those pages come to life. Finally, McIntosh Embossing is sanding their magnesium dies for the New Jerusalem illumination in Letters & Revelation to give the gold in that illumination the character of the original work. All of these treatments and alterations in the Heritage Edition have occurred with a single goal in mind: The Heritage Edition must capture the spirit of the original. It is not a reproduction or a facsimile; for whereas much effort was made to exactly duplicate the original in many ways, Jackson art-directed a large number of images with the intent of making absolutely certain that the images would be expressed appropriately in a printed book. No summary article would be complete without mentioning the team involved in creating the Heritage Edition. In the seven years of this project, more than 100 people have lent their time and talents to the creation of this marvelous work. Without these dedicated and flexible individuals, and the support of their employers, the Heritage Edition would not be what it is. And what is it? It is a “phenomenon of artistic interpretation” wherein the colors, the gold and silver treatments, the paper, and the binding call viewers to attend to the “substance, not the surface” of word and image. [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 PRINT EXHIBITION

April 1, 2013 through April 30, 2013 (25 prints) Franciscan Spirituality Center La Crosse, WI 54601

ORIGINAL MANUSCRIPT Letters & Revelation Exhibition opens February 25, 2013 Hill Museum & Manuscript Library Saint John’s Universtity Collegeville, MN

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.




Heritage Edition volumes were on display giving conferees the opportunity to turn pages, explore illuminations and spend time with Scripture. The mission of The Saint John’s Bible to ignite the spiritual imagination of people around the world resonated perfectly with ACCU’s theme this year.


“Catholic identity is not limited to creed and doctrine, to the verbal. It is also about our imagination and how it shapes our understanding of ourselves and the world. The Saint John’s Bible inspires that imagination and provides an entré into Christian identity that is particularly engaging for young adults.” — BILL CAHOY, DEAN OF THE SAINT JOHN’S UNIVERSITY school of theology•seminary


In addition to Saint John’s participation in the annual meeting, The Saint John’s Bible played a prominent role in the Mission Officer’s Conference prior to the main assembly. Bill Cahoy, Dean of the Saint John’s University’s School of Theology·Seminary led conferees through a series of reflections using imagery from The Saint John’s Bible.

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