Saint John's Bible

A monumental work of sacred art.

Lighting the Word: Creighton and the Saint John’s Bible

In this video series, produced by Creighton Archives and University Communications and Marketing, Creighton University experts explore the timeless Scriptures and breathtaking illuminations found in the Saint John’s Bible – the first handwritten, hand-illuminated Bible commissioned by a Benedictine monastery in over 500 years. A Heritage Edition of the Bible is currently on loan to Creighton from Michael McCarthy, chair of the University’s Board of Trustees, and his wife, Nancy.

How do illustrations of gold bars tie into the 23rd Psalm, which begins “The Lord is my shepherd …”? Michael Kelly, JD, interim dean of the School of Law, explains.

Kevin Estep, PhD, an assistant professor in the Department of Cultural and Social Studies, says a beautiful illustration at the beginning of the Gospel of John invites a deeper reflection on the biblical passage “The word became flesh and lived among us.”

May 2018 graduate Lexie Kafka worked with the Saint John’s Bible as a student intern in the Rare Books Room. Kafka said she had an opportunity to share the Bible’s unique background and the stories behind the illuminations with a wide audience through events and personal showings.

The Saint John’s Bible will be on display during Holy Thursday, Easter Vigil and Easter Sunday Masses at St. John’s Church. Creighton alumna Vivian Amu, a sacristan at St. John’s, says the display of the Bible helps mark special occasions, and serves as an invitation to participate. Watch her “Lighting the Word” video here.

Eileen Burke-Sullivan, STD, vice provost for Mission and Ministry and the Heaney Endowed Chair in Pastoral Liturgical Theology, explains that the artwork in the Saint John’s Bible connects the sacred text to the larger world. Watch the latest installment of “Lighting the Word.”

Bridget Keegan, PhD, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, says the Saint John’s Bible on loan to Creighton University invites and challenges us to see God in new and exciting ways.

Dulcinea Boesenberg, PhD, assistant professor of theology at Creighton, shares how Hebrew words are used throughout the Saint John’s Bible, which is currently on loan to the University, creating a sense of continuity. She discusses this use of Hebrew in the current installment of the “Lighting the Word” video series.

Gintaras Duda, PhD, professor and chair of physics at Creighton and a cosmologist and particle physicist by training, discusses how the Saint John’s Bible, currently on loan to the University, incorporates modern science in its stunning illustrations. “It’s a Bible of the 21st century,” Duda says, in this week’s installment of the “Lighting the Word” video series. 

Michael McCarthy, Chair, Creighton Board of Trustees

David Crawford, Creighton University Archivist


The Heritage Edition of the Saint John’s Bible

Through the generosity of our new Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Mr. Michael J. McCarthy, and his wife Nancy, Creighton is now the steward of the Heritage Edition of the Saint John’s Bible. The Heritage Edition is a unique, full-size reproduction of The Saint John’s Bible – a monumental work of sacred art commissioned by Saint John’s Abbey and University in Collegeville, Minn., in 1998. Completed in 2011, this beautiful, inspiring handwritten, hand-illuminated Bible was created by renowned calligrapher Donald Jackson and a team of scribes, artists, theologians, and scholars. Only 299 sets of the Heritage Edition were created, so we are deeply grateful that the McCarthys are sharing this wonderful work of art and Scripture with Creighton University and the wider community. A schedule for public display is being planned. We also hope to develop academic programming and events that will complement and enhance this unique opportunity to host the seven volumes that make up this Bible. Please stay tuned for updates, and please also envision how you might use and enjoy it in your own work. Thank you, again, to the McCarthys for making this possible. This is a treasured addition to our campus.

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