Illuminating the Word
Smithsonian Magazine calls it “one of the extraordinary undertakings of our time.” For 13 years, renowned calligrapher Donald Jackson has led a team to produce for Saint John’s University a hand-written, hand-illuminated Bible. The resulting work of art—the Saint John’s Bible—came to Duke Divinity School Oct. 10–11 for the 2011 Convocation & Pastors’ School, Drawn into Scripture: Arts and the Life of the Church, where it played an integral role during the program and be available for public viewing.
“The Saint John’s Bible works to ignite the spiritual imagination,” says Tim Ternes, program director for The Saint John's Bible. By combining imagery with Scripture, “it strives to give people something to think about without saying ‘This is what you should think.’”
Illuminations from the Saint John’s Bible featured prominently throughout Convocation & Pastors’ School. A bound volume of the Bible processed down the aisle of Duke Chapel during the initial worship service with Lillian Daniel. This volume—one of four fine art replicas traveling to Duke—was on display in Goodson Chapel throughout Convocation so that participants could examine the illuminations more closely. The Bible’s artistry was incorporated into Tuesday’s morning prayer service through projected illuminations and readings from the illuminated text.
The Bible was available for public viewing in Goodson Chapel Monday, Oct. 10, from 9 a.m.–3 p.m., and during the Service of the Word in Duke Chapel 5:30 p.m.–6:30 p.m.
On Oct. 11, the public had several opportunities to see the Bible in Goodson Chapel: the morning prayer service from 8:15 a.m.–8:45 a.m., or when it was s on display from 9 a.m.–10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.–2 p.m.
Those participating in Ternes’ continuing education seminar took a deeper look at the history and creation of the Saint John’s Bible, and learedn about the concept of visio divina, or sacred seeing, the practice of praying with images.
“What’s wonderful about visio divina is that it truly slows you down and opens the scriptures to more of your senses,” he says. It allows you to go deeper into the scripture passages in ways that you may not have done before. It’s a wonderful group experience that in many cases transforms the way that people look at scripture study.” Once you’ve learned the process, Ternes says, “You can have this experience with any artwork or scripture passage. It truly engages a different part of your senses.”
On-site registration for Convocation & Pastors’ School will be available. Learn more and view the schedule of events.
Homepage image: Detail from Life in Community, Aidan Hart in collaboration with Donald Jackson, Copyright 2002, The Saint John’s Bible, the Order of Saint Benedict, Collegeville, Minnesota, USA.