First Handwritten Bible in 500 Years on Display

Baihly Warfield
September 19, 2017 10:51 PM

The St. John's Bible heritage editions have made the trip to Duluth. 

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The original St. John's Bible is the only handwritten, hand-illuminated Bible in 500 years, according to retired Lutheran pastor Karen Bockelman. It was planned by the monks at St. John's Abbey and others at St. John's University in Collegeville. 

"It took 12 years to do with people from the university and monastery working on the scriptural analysis and scriptural studies behind texts and illuminations," Bockelman said. 

A group of calligraphers and illuminators in Wales put it together. 

Bockelman said despite the old world "technology," it's a Bible designed for the 21st century. 

"When people see the illuminations, they will see modern things," Bockelman said. "Some illuminations are based on pictures from the Hubble spacecraft or from cave paintings in Australia. So it's not what you think of when you think of a monk sitting in a monastery in the 1300s."

The Bible is in Duluth to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation and the 125th anniversary of the St. Scholastica monastery. 

"It's a way of us wanting to talk about what ... Protestants and Catholics have in common," Bockelman said. 

Bockelman said people have been "blown away" by how beautiful it is, and they have especially noticed the gold throughout, which represents God's presence throughout the Bible. 

The event goes on for two more days. There is a worship service at 7 p.m. Thursday at Our Lady Queen of Peace Chapel in Duluth. The Bible will be out for viewing for a half hour before, from 6:30-7 p.m., and for a half hour after, from 8:30-9 p.m. 

It is open to everyone and free to attend. 

For more viewing times, click here. 


Baihly Warfield

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