• Eucharist
    Eucharist, Donald Jackson, Copyright 2002, The Saint John’s Bible,
The Office of Church Relations

» The Saint John's Bible

What happens when artists and calligraphers, theologians and biblical scholars, medievalists and historians come together to produce an illuminated Bible for the 21st century? The Saint John’s Bible is the crowning achievement of Donald Jackson, Queen Elizabeth’s royal scribe, and Saint John’s University and Abbey in Collegeville, MN.

Toggle Section

Artistry & Workmanship

Using medieval techniques of calligraphy and illumination, The Saint John’s Bible is the first Bible of its kind since the invention of the printing press. For calligraphers, making an illuminated Bible is the artistic equivalent of the painting of the Sistine Chapel. The Saint John’s Bible took over sixteen years to move from conceptualization to completion.

The 1,150 page manuscript has 160 major illuminations and special treatments on dozens of other texts. Jackson developed a special script for this Bible and brought together a small team of artists and calligraphers to work alongside him on this project. The Bible was written on calfskin vellum using traditional tools and inks and it is massive--2 feet by 3 feet when open.

The Goal's of The Saint John's Bible

The goal of The Saint John’s Bible is to ignite the spiritual imagination of people around the world. The illuminations are not illustrations of stories--they are spiritual meditations on texts that invite the reader to engage with scripture in fresh, new ways. The three general inspirations of the Saint John’s Bible is to highlight the role of women, to emphasize how people on the margins are celebrated and included and how science and faith are not at odds.

Wanting to expand the reach of The Saint John’s Bible, Donald Jackson personally oversaw a second project—creating the Heritage Edition of The Saint John’s Bible, 299 full-size reproductions. The pages of these seven-volume sets are 100 percent cotton and are made to have the look and feel of the original vellum. The state-of-the- art lithographic printing process assures fidelity to the original. After printing, embossing and stamping processes add lustrous gold and silver to the illuminations and some are hand treated to most accurately resemble the original. The volumes are magnificently hand-bound in Italian embossed leather and are predicted to last for 1,000 years. Beyond the 299 Heritage Edition sets, there will be no additional copies made.

It is our deepest hope that you will be so inspired by this Bible that you will choose to join others helping to purchase the 7-volume Saint John’s Bible Heritage Edition. It will be on permanent display in the vestibule of the Fish Interfaith Center, in the Leatherby Libraries and available to travel to classrooms across the campus.

Donations & Pledges

Cost for a Heritage Edition and the creation of a marquetry cabinet similar to those housing other sacred texts in the Fish Interfaith Center is $225,000. The cabinet will be created by William Tunberg, whose magnificent functional art can be found throughout the Fish Interfaith Center.

Gifts of all sizes are welcome and important. Pledges are available for 2019-2020.

If you wish to explore naming opportunities, they are as follows:

  • $15,000 each for Vol 2 Historical Books, Vol 3 Psalms, Vol 4 Wisdom Books, Vol 5 Prophets, Vol 7 Letters & Revelation)
  • $25,000 each for Vol 1 Pentateuch, Vol 6 Gospels & Acts
    $50,000 for Tunberg cabinet

To make a pledge or if you have questions about the Bible or naming opportunities, please contact Nancy Brink, brink@chapman.edu, 714.628.7246.

Donations are appreciated!

Come See It!

Chapman University, through a gift from the Office of Church Relations, is bringing the Gospels and Acts volume of the Heritage Edition on loan to the and community are organizing a year of events to engage the Chapman community and our visitors to explore this volume.

In addition to the Gospel and Acts volume of the Heritage Edition on loan at the Leatherby Libraries, further exploration of the other volumes is available here!

The Saint John's Bible is currently located on the first floor of Leatherby Libraries or by appointment for groups! Contact Nancy Brink, brink@chapman.edu, 714.628.7246 for any questions or concerns!

The Saint John's Bible Events

  • Founders Day, March 9
    • All day
    • Fr. Eric Hollas, OSB
    • The Artist as Preacher
    • For a complete schedule of events, including registration visit the here!
  • President's Lecture
    • Daniel C. Struppa, Ph.D. - President, Chapman University
    • Science and Religion: The Two Kingdoms
    • Tuesday, April 9 at 7 pm
  • Weekly on Monday at Noon
    • Turning of the Page: A brief gathering each week on the 1st floor, Leatherby Libraries display of The Saint John's Bible
  • Weekly, January 31 to May 9, Noon to 1 pm
    • Viseo Divina (Bible study with text and image)
    • Hosted by Nancy Brink & Cisa Payuyo
    • Wilkinson Chapel of the Fish Interfaith Center