The Saint John’s Bible Exhibit

My blog post takes us to The Saint John’s Bible Exhibit. I have seen the signs at Carson Newman College for about half a year or so. I have always wanted to go. Today was that chance. I was going to go to The Creek Cafe, but their power was out. So I was like okay now where to go to work on my blog. Well I see the signs and felt God lead me there. This exhibit opened at Carson Newman September 26, 2013. I am sure that like everyone else, I thought this had to do with the Apostle John, but this Bible doesn’t. I enter the exhibit and greeting by a friendly pastor working the exhibit. I get to watch 2 short videos back to back about the Saint John’s Bible. Currently Carson Newman has 2 volumes on display. Volume 1 Pentateuch & Volume 6 Gospels & Acts. They have recently purchased the complete volume set and plan to have on display by Summer of 2014. Before you could fully inside to touch the Bible you had to wash and dry your hands thoroughly.


Illumination of Creation - The Sai
Illumination of Creation – The Saint John’s Bible

The first image I share is the Illumination of Creation. It has 7 bands going across to symbolize each day of the creation. They do use a lot of gold in the illuminations. Gold is an important in the kingdom of God. I also will share some other pictures of the Saint John Bible in this blog post. Most of them are of the illuminations. The first band was said to have fractals, jagged geometric shapes that resemble jigsaw puzzle pieces. An illumination manuscript is text supplied by graphics, decoration, borders, initials, and more. You can see they use a lot of gold in the illuminations of the Saint John’s Bible.

Art Direction

Donald Jackson was the Art Director of this handwritten Bible. This is the first Bible handwritten in English. Usually Latin is the one that is handwritten in. The group of people at Saint John’s school used calligraphy and illumination to put this Bible together. It took 10 years to complete this project. In 2011 is when they completed this penned Bible.

10 Commandments

Illumination of the 10 Commandment
Illumination of the 10 Commandment – The Saint John’s Bible

The pastor working the exhibit told me you have to stand back to see it better. This is another example of an illumination that was used in the Saint John’s Bible. Below is that example. I also like this one too, because a productive witnessing method is the Good Person test that points out the 10 Commandments and the need for a savior.

Tid-bit information

This Bible is 2 feet tall, but 3 feet wide when it is opened. It was illuminated on calf-skin vellum. The replicas were done on white cotton paper. They used feather quills to pen the Bible. The Saint John’s Bible uses the New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (NRSV-CE).

The Parables

Illumination of the Parables - The
Illumination of the Parables – The Saint John’s Bible

This illumination of the parables has the parables taught by Jesus. These parables include the Good Samaritan, The Lost Coin, The Lost Sheep, Jesus w/Mary & Martha. Even Lazarus being arose from the dead. Plus the rich man that got to see what hell is like. If you also notice, you see the Twin Towers from New York City in gold. Jackson was working on that parable illumination when the planes hit the twin towers on Tuesday, September 11, 2001. I am sure we all can remember where we were when the world seemed to stop turning.

Errors & Shadow printing

Example of Shadow Printing & An Error
Example of Shadow Printing & An Error – – The Saint John’s Bible

This Bible has 9 errors in it. Just like in the mid-evil days with hand printing, the errors were noted on the sides of the pages, instead of hand writing the entire page. The illumination shows an example of both an error and how they corrected it. In mid-evil times they did this practice too. It was to prevent the whole page from being redone. This illumination also shows an example of shadow printing. They would print the back side of the paper with a light mirrored version of the image, to make it look like it was on vellum, a translucent type material, since these replicas were printed on white cotton. Being a graphic designer, I enjoyed hearing all about the printing techniques and production techniques that were used to fabricate the Saint John’s Bible.

Gospel of John

Illumination of the Gospel of John
Illumination of the Gospel of John – The Saint John’s Bible

I liked to see this page, because most of you know that I like to hand out Gospel Tracts and Gospel of John’s. Ironically one of the locations I usually hand these out are at Carson Newman college, the location of this Saint John’s Bible Exhibit.

Hours of exhibit at Carson Newman

  • Thursday & Friday 10 am – 4 pm
  • Saturday 9-5

*Hours subject to change without notice. Reservations can be made by calling 865-471-3557

Other locations to see the exhibit

  • Palm Beach, FL (Society of the Four Arts)
  • New Haven, CT (Knights of Columbus Museum)
  • Lexington, KY (Christ Church Cathedral)
  • Boulder, CO (Knights of Columbus Museum)
  • Hiawath, IA (Prairie Franciscan Retreat and Eco-Spirituality Center)
  • Indianapolis, IN (Indiana Interchurch Center)
  • Princeton, NJ (Princeton Theological Seminary)
  • Moraga, CA (Saint Mary’s College Museum of Art)

If you are near one of these locations, I encourage you to take some time and look at the Saint John’s Bible Exhibit.

Sources & more information:

The Art of the St. John’s Bible, ISBN 978-0-8146-9193-9 Known Corrections in the Saint Johns Bible, Heritage Edition Worksheet Frequent Asked Questions About the Heritage Edition of the Saint John’s Bible *’s_Bible Worksheets were given to me at the Saint John’s Bible Exhibit at Carson Newman.

About the Author

Author: Steve Patterson

A Christian Blogger that enjoys blogging about the Bible, Theology, God, Jesus Christ, Christian Music, Family, Cats, Odd Holidays, sewing and much more. I have been blogging since 2004, however, I have been blogging on Courageous Christian Father since 2012. I enjoy listening to Christian Music. I am married with 1 daughter, 2 step-sons and a step daughter.

6 thoughts on “The Saint John’s Bible Exhibit

  1. It was very interesting and very cool to see. Even the facts about this being a hand-written Bible and in English well most of them are usually hand written in Latin

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