The Saint John’s Bible was made using traditional materials such as vellum (calfskin), ancient inks, gold and silver leaf and platinum, and was written with quill pens fashioned from goose, turkey, and swan feathers.
With its 160 major illuminations, The Saint John’s Bible reflects three particular Benedictine values and biblical themes: hospitality; conversion of life; and justice for Gods people.
The Committee on Illumination and Text (CIT) at Saint John’s University provided the biblical and theological scholarship behind the project. The CIT was composed of artists, medievalists, theologians, biblical scholars and art historians. Under the leadership of Fr. Michael Patella, OSB, the CIT presented Donald Jackson with briefs and abstracts for the verses of the Bible illuminations.
The artists took several approaches to representing the divine in the pages of The Saint John’s Bible. Reading the Gospels, you will see the images of Jesus range from representational to abstract. In Prophets, the rainbow, the sign of God’s enduring promise to Noah, is used to show the presence of God. Gold leaf is used throughout, from Creation to Apocalypse, to direct the reader to the presence of the divine.