Caldwell, N.J., Jan. 29, 2019– It is not often that one gets to view an illuminated, handwritten Bible created by the Queen’s calligrapher, yet more than 200 people at Caldwell University had that opportunity on Jan. 28 when they came out for the launch of the school’s “Year with The Saint John’s Bible”.
Caldwell University President Nancy Blattner said the year with the Bible is an invitation “to reflect upon our own journey to God, an invitation to seek God in all aspects of our life, an invitation to be drawn deeper into the mystery of our faith.”
The evening featured prayer, music and a presentation by Tim Ternes, director of The Saint John’s Bible at the Hill Museum & Manuscript Library at Saint John’s University in Collegeville, Minnesota.
Ternes explained how the timeless gift of sacred art is the first illuminated, handwritten Bible of monumental size to be created in more than 500 years. It was commissioned by Benedictine Saint John’s Abbey and University in Collegeville, Minnesota, and the creative director was Donald Jackson, senior scribe to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth’s Crown Office.
Jackson worked with a team of scribes, artists, theologians and scholars. Ternes described the creative process that took 15 years with Jackson leading artists who used 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. Although traditional materials were used, The Saint John’s Bible, Ternes said, “was inspired by our times and can inspire our times.”
The Bible is monumental in size because it is meant to be shared with others. “It is communal…the artworks are there to cause you to have discussions,” said Ternes. The legacy of the Bible, he said, is “what you choose to do with it…share it, enjoy it, use it.” The Bible is the New Revised Standard version. The text, translation and imagery in The Saint John’s Bible reflect Saint John’s Abbey and University’s dedication to ecumenism.
Interactive discussions made the opening night celebration very enjoyable for the audience members. Christine Millien, a recent graduate, was happy she attended. Ternes, she said, “opened your mind and joined the community together.”
Brooke McPherson, a Caldwell student, who is working on the docent team, said the “entire school is excited,” and she is “excited to be in the middle of it.”
University Music Department faculty members performed a new piece, “Calming of the Storm,” composed by faculty member Rob Middleton, inspired by an image in the Bible of the same title by artist Suzanne Moore. Middleton played the clarinet and he was joined by Music Department chair and pianist Nan Childress-Orchard and flutist Rebecca Vega.
For one year, Caldwell is hosting the Heritage Edition of the Gospels and Acts volume of the Bible. The Heritage Edition is the only full-size limited signed and numbered fine art edition that will ever be produced. Each volume includes Jackson’s signature as its certificate of authenticity.
The community is invited to take advantage of the various programs and lectures at Caldwell in theology, art, history, science, music and more as they relate to the Bible. Groups are invited to contact the university to schedule visits.
Other lectures during the year will include:
Wednesday, March 20, 2019, 4:30 p.m. – Dr. Marie Mullaney, Caldwell University professor of history, will present on “A Woman’s Bible for the 21st Century.”
Monday, April 8, 2019, 4:30 p.m. – Stephanie Pietros, Ph.D., assistant professor of English, College of Mount St. Vincent, and Robert Miller, Ph.D., associate professor of philosophy and religious studies, Mount St. Mary College, will present on “Oh Happy Fault, Errors in the Saint John’s Bible” as part of the Caldwell Department of Theology and Philosophy’s Sister Maura Campbell series.
Wednesday, April 24, 2019, Noon– Dr. Anton M. Koekemoer, research astrophysicist with the Hubble Space Telescope at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, will speak at Caldwell’s third annual Research and Creative Arts Day.
More lectures will be added.