One of the 299 editions of the Heritage copy of the St. John’s Bible was presented at a reception and documentary screening in the Johnson Center Memorial Chapel on Wednesday, April 11. Tim Ternes, executive director of the project, spoke to about 70 students and faculty about the process and significance of the project.
Donald Jackson, the official scribe of Queen Elizabeth II, had a lifelong dream that, after 15 years, came to fruition last June when the Bible was finished and presented at the Saint John Abbey’s church.
Malone currently has five of the seven volumes of the books. Ternes explained a few of the pictures like the creation piece, the first illustration in the books.
Jackson was not the only artist working on the project. Six other calligraphy artists and other specialty artists corresponded with a committee of theologians at St. John’s University from across the Atlantic in Wales before making the final work of art for each of the 73 books included in the New Revised Standard Version Bible, including the Apocrypha.
Ternes told of how Jackson chose to illustrate the image of God, with 24 karat gold. He said that Jackson’s reasoning was it is long-lasting, stable and can be polished to see the reader’s reflection — who is made in the image of God.
It took approximately six to eight months for the details of each art piece to be decided on and about 20 years of calligraphy hours combined to complete the text.
Senior art/business major Billy Latta expressed urgency for his peers to see the piece.
“It’s one of the most ornate pieces I have seen in my entire life,” Latta said. “It goes against the norm of what you think would be drawn. For example, the Adam and Eve, the Valley of Dry Bones had a car in it, the genealogy has DNA strands in it. They incorporate science and other religions. It draws other people in.”
It has not yet been decided where the Heritage versions of the Bible will be kept according to Director of University Relations Suzie Thomas.
“The physical plant and a number of other departments will work together to figure out the best place for it to be exhibited, but I think it’s safe to say it will be in the Johnson Center because of the combination of theology and the fine arts,” Thomas said.
In the documentary, Jackson spoke about the future of the piece.
“The Bible isn’t my legacy; the history of this project is yours and what you manage to do with it,” he said.
Ternes challenged the group with the same question: “Now it’s your turn to figure out what you are going to do with it.”
Latta gave a suggestion of what should be done with it.
“Go see it, go experience it,” he said. “If you see it, don’t just walk by it. Go and look. That will make you think about what actually happened in God’s creation and God’s work and what’s happening now.”