Fairfield University's DiMenna-Nyselius Library first academic library in New England to acquire rare Saint John's Bible

Image: BibleFairfield University's DiMenna-Nyselius Library is the first academic library in New England to acquire the Saint John's Bible Heritage Edition, a handwritten and illuminated bible that should intrigue lovers of books and those in awe of great works of art.

This limited edition bible will be on view at a free and public event hosted by the Fairfield University Office of Alumni Relations (Fairfield County Alumni Chapter) on Monday, April 8, at 5:30 p.m. in the Kelley Center, on the Fairfield campus. Tim Ternes, director of The Saint John's Bible Project and Hill Museum & Manuscript Library in Minnesota, will be on hand and give a talk, "From Inspiration to Illumination - An Introduction to The Saint John's Bible." An additional viewing event will take place Tuesday, April 9 at 11 a.m. in the library.

The norm is to see a bible created by a machine, but this work is one produced by calligraphers and artists in the tradition of great medieval bibles. Two feet tall and three feet wide, its 1,100 pages and more than 160 illuminations are organized into seven distinct volumes containing the 73 books of the Old and New Testaments. It was written on calfskin vellum using turkey, goose and swan quills, and was made with handmade inks, hand-ground pigments and gold leaf.

"It is a thrill to present to the public for the first time the Heritage Edition of the St. John's Bible, which is now part of Fairfield University's DiMenna-Nyselius Library collection," said Joan Overfield, university librarian and director of library services.

Overfield added the Saint John's Bible engages the reader's senses with the sacred text. "In 200-300 years, people will still be talking about this magnificent work of art," she said. "This is a treasure to support University curricula and Jesuit Mission, and to be enjoyed by the whole community and our visitors."

It's the first time in 500 years that a Benedictine Monastery has commissioned a handwritten, illuminated bible. In commissioning it, Saint John's University and the monks of Saint John's Abbey in Collegeville, Minn., revived a tradition that has been absent from the Christian world since the European development of the printing press in the fifteenth century. The hope is to ignite the spiritual imagination of people throughout the world with it.

To RSVP for the Monday, April 8 event, please call Alumni Relations at (203) 254-4280. To RSVP to the Tuesday, April 9 event, please contact JoAnn Garrity at jgarrity@fairfield.edu or Joan Overfield at jtoverfield@fairfield.edu.

For more information about Fairfield University, visit www.fairfield.edu.

Image: Adam and Eve. Donald Jackson with contributions by Chris Tomlin.

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Media Contact: Meg McCaffrey, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2726, mmccaffrey@fairfield.edu

Posted on April 5, 2013

Vol. 45, No. 248

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