Xavier displays special edition of the Bible

By: Maddie Day

St. John’s University loaned Xavier’s library two volumes of the St. John’s Bible Heritage Edition for the fall semester, and the books are now on display for the Xavier community.

The two volumes are full-size, handwritten manuscripts bound in Italian leather, printed on custom cotton paper and illustrated using ancient inks and hand-ground paints.

Each volume features gold and silver illuminations, exquisite calligraphy and modern imagery that together capture the essence of the original St. John’s Bible manuscript.

To verify both books’ authenticity, Donald Jackson, creative director of the Heritage Edition program, signed them.

A team of calligraphers, artists and scribes who were commissioned by the Benedictine monks at St. John’s University meticulously crafted the books. The collection is distinctive for being the first to be commissioned by a Benedictine abbey since the invention of the printing press. They are part of a seven-volume collection that provides a full sensory experience and inspires both personal spirituality and reflection among readers.

“This is an amazing book. You can look at it, you can touch it and you can see what it means to you,” Marty Ferrell, head of collection development and preservation, said.

Students will have the opportunity to interact with the St. John’s Bible at noon every weekday this semester outside Gallagher’s Clock Tower Lounge at the “Page- A-Day Event.”

Students should visit the library’s homepage, where there is a link to sign up to participate in the event by turning pages in the Pentateuch, Gospels or Acts of the Apostles.

Xavier continues to seek donations in hopes of permanently acquiring all seven volumes of the Heritage Edition.

Proceeds from the sale of Heritage Edition manuscripts will help fund the preservation of endangered manuscripts worldwide.

Regardless of these efforts, Ferrell hopes students take advantage of the opportunity to experience these rare and unique editions while they can.

“Students need to get use out of the volumes while we have them,” Ferrell said.

Any individual or group is encouraged to incorporate the volumes of the St. John’s Bible into their university activities.

Contact Marty Ferrell at ferrell@xavier.edu for more information.