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The Scribe July 2012 Vol. 1, Issue 6
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The Saint John’s Bible at the Getty on September 5
The Art of The Saint John's Bible - 3 Volume Set
Initial B: David in Prayer, about 1485.
Ulrich Schreier (Austrian, about 1430–1490).
Tempera colors, gold leaf, and ink on parchment
bound between original wood boards covered with
original brown calf.
The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles,
Ms. Ludwig IX 14, fol. 17v.

If you plan to be in the Los Angeles area in early September, please mark your calendar for Wednesday, September 5. As part of its programming for The Art of Devotion in the Middle Ages exhibition, the Getty will host an entire day on The Saint John’s Bible. The schedule includes an evening presentation by Donald Jackson and a series of afternoon courses on The Saint John’s Bible.

Illuminated Bibles Then and Now
Wednesday, September 5, 1 to 6 PM


"The Saint John's Bible Story," Tim Ternes, director of The Saint John's Bible

"Igniting the Spiritual Imagination: A Monk's Perspective," Fr. Eric Hollas, OSB

"Illuminated Religious Books in the Middle Ages," Elizabeth Morrison, curator, Department of Manuscripts, J. Paul Getty Museum

Break-Out Sessions
Calligraphy demonstration with Diane von Arx, scribe and artist of The Saint John's Bible
Guided tour of the exhibition The Art of Devotion in the Middle Ages
Tour of the first five Heritage Edition volumes from The Saint John’s Bible: Pentateuch, Historical Books, Psalms, Wisdom Books and Prophets.

There is a course fee of $30. To attend the afternoon session, call (310) 440-7300 or use the "Make Reservation" button below. For more information, see Illuminated Bibles Then and Now

Make Reservation
The Saint John's Bible: A Contemporary Illuminated Manuscript
Featuring Donald Jackson
Wednesday, September 5, 7 PM

Harold M. Williams Auditorium, Getty Center

In 1998, Saint John's Abbey and University commissioned renowned calligrapher Donald Jackson to produce a handwritten, hand-illuminated Bible. Jackson discusses the influences and techniques that informed his creation and how, in turn, its making provided insights into the work of the past. This presentation complements the exhibition: The Art of Devotion in the Middle Ages.

The admission is free and reservations are recommended. Call (310) 440-7300 or use the "Make Reservation" button below. For more information, see The Saint John's Bible: A Contemporary Illuminated Manuscript

Make Reservation

Interview with Fr. Bob Koopmann, OSB
Fr. Bob Koopmann, OSB

“I believe that great art always inspires future attempts at great art.”
      - Fr. Bob Koopman, OSB

Fr. Robert Koopmann, OSB, completed his term as President of Saint John’s University last month. During Fr. Bob’s term, Donald Jackson and his team completed work on The Saint John’s Bible and Fr. Bob helped celebrate that momentous event both in Wales and in Collegeville. Upon completion of his presidential term this summer, Fr. Bob will begin a sabbatical at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, CA.

Q: The Saint John’s Bible is a monumental undertaking that took 15 years to complete. When Donald and Mabel Jackson presented the final pages last June, what were your thoughts as you burnished the gold cross on the last page of Revelation?

During that wonderful ceremony, I couldn’t help but think of the thousands of hours of artistic work that went into the creation of this masterpiece, and that it was finally finished! I further thought of Brother Dietrich, who was a driving force in getting this project started. I am certain he was with us that day and that he was smiling down on us all.

Q: As an accomplished classical pianist, former chair of the music department, and division head of fine arts at Saint John’s, you have a unique appreciation of the arts and the creative process. Do you believe The Saint John’s Bible will inspire future artists to take up their quills, paintbrushes, violins, etc.?

The Bible will certainly inspire more creative endeavors, as well as collaborations among the arts. A performance by the choir of St. Martin-in-the-Fields in London is an example of an inspirational concert that paired contemporary sacred music along with projections of some of the Bible’s breathtaking illuminations. I believe that great art always inspires future attempts at great art.

Q: What part of this project has been the biggest surprise?

I was fortunate to be able to visit Donald Jackson’s Scriptorium in Wales. I found myself comparing this work to the type of art that I know best — music. Many people would be surprised at the many hours of practice I must put into preparation of a great work of music for a concert presentation, as well as the many ways I need to practice in order to hear all the musical lines and “voice out” the most important one. I was likewise surprised and moved by the many pieces which go into both the calligraphy and the illustrations in the Bible —everything from measuring out the letters and words so they fit the line, to the many layers of technique needed to bring the illustrations to life. It was an amazing and very complex process!

Q: The Saint John’s Bible is a gift to the world from the monks at Saint John’s. What has The Saint John’s Bible meant to Saint John’s Abbey?

The Saint John’s Bible is already a part of our major liturgies; it is displayed prominently and used for readings. Its use will only grow as time goes on and more volumes of the Heritage Edition are published. Although Saint John’s Abbey already has an international reputation in liturgy and theology, the Bible is bringing us additional attention, which we hope will help us further our mission of service in the world.

See the Bible
Heritage Edition Exhibitions

Davenport Public Library
Davenport, IA
August 1-30, 2012

Cathedral Church of St. Mark
Salt Lake City, UT
October 1-5, 2012

Saint Ann’s Catholic Church
Midland, TX
October 15 - November 15, 2012

Touring Exhibitions

New Mexico History Museum
Santa Fe, NM
October 21, 2011 - December 30, 2012

Print Exhibitions

St. Norbert College
De Pere, WI
October 2 - November 1, 2013

Rivier College Art Gallery
Nashua, NH
September 17 - October 26, 2012