The Saint John's Bible: Historical Books

Overview

Historical Books is the sixth of seven full color reproduction books from The Saint John's Bible.

Of al the different genres comprising the Bible, perhaps no other collection has caused as much discomfort within the reader as the historical books. The wars and bloodshed their stories contain have inspired pious and holy people to the greatest extremes of behavior, al in the name of following God's will. While Joshua, Judges, Samuel, Kings, Judith, and Esther contain many ...

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Overview

Historical Books is the sixth of seven full color reproduction books from The Saint John's Bible.

Of al the different genres comprising the Bible, perhaps no other collection has caused as much discomfort within the reader as the historical books. The wars and bloodshed their stories contain have inspired pious and holy people to the greatest extremes of behavior, al in the name of following God's will. While Joshua, Judges, Samuel, Kings, Judith, and Esther contain many off-putting stories, they also have their share of inspirational passages; moreover, works such as Ruth and Tobit are both edifying and endearing.

The historical books follow a trajectory that goes beyond the books themselves. A close reading of the text reveals that the winners, or God's people, are not necessarily painted in glowing terms, and the neighboring peoples are not always presented as evil. Here lies the key to the interpretation of the historical books.

While many themes are evident throughout the historical books, it is quite possible that the most important is the understanding that God's history of dealing with people is not neat and tidy. Humankind, left to its own devices, can spiral downward into moral abyss, even as we proclaim fidelity to the Lord. Because God's love is unwavering, we as people created by God have been spared the worst we could possibly do to ourselves and others.

As the largest book in the series, Historical Books features more than twenty-five stunning illuminations as well as multiple text treatments and marginal details that dramatically depict the Bible's inspiring and thought-provoking passages. Through beautiful handwritten script and elegant design, this volume illustrates how the grace of God's justice and peace can rise from the most unlikely of places, reminding us that our redemption is always close at hand.

Donald Jackson is one of the world's leading calligraphers and the artistic director and illuminator of The Saint John's Bible. He is a Senior Illuminator to the Queen of England's Crown Office and is an elected Fellow and past Chairman of the prestigious Society of Scribes and Illuminators. His 30-year retrospective exhibition, Painting with Words, premiered at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in August,1988 and traveled to 13 museums and galleries.

The launch of a national museum tour of the The Saint John's Bible began at The Minneapolis Institute of Arts in Minneapolis, Minnesota in April 2005 where record crowds greeted the inaugural exhibit during its three-month run. The Saint John's Bible will continue its national exhibition tour that includes museums and galleries from throughout the United States and Europe.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

This epochal work . . . will grace your home, besides being a perfect gift for churches, graduates, and wedding couples.
The Bible Today

An artistic delight for any reader.
The Midwest Book Review

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814690536
  • Publisher: Liturgical Press, The
  • Publication date: 9/28/2010
  • Pages: 276
  • Sales rank: 1,058,232
  • Product dimensions: 10.00 (w) x 15.50 (h) x 1.50 (d)

Meet the Author


An internationally respected calligrapher, Donald Jackson is the artistic director and illuminator of The Saint John's Bible. He is a Senior Scribe to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth's Crown Office at the House of Lords in the United Kingdom, a position in which he is responsible for the creation of official state documents. He is an elected Fellow and past Chairman of the prestigious Society of Scribes and Illuminators. His 30-year retrospective exhibition, Painting with Words, premiered at The Minneapolis Institute of Arts in Minneapolis, Minnesota in August, 1988 and traveled to 13 museums and galleries. Donald Jackson works with a team of theologians and artists from Saint John's University and Abbey on The Saint John's Bible. From his scriptorium in Wales, he oversees scribes, artists, and craftsmen who work with him on the handwriting and illumination of the seven-volume, 1,150-page Bible.
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  • Posted November 15, 2010

    religious art at its modern-day best in illuminated book

    This Historical Books is another of the volumes of the seven-volume, twelve-year project of the Saint John's Bible directed by Donald Jackson, Senior Illuminator to the Queen of England's Crown Office. Among the Biblical historical books are Joshua, Samuel, Kings, Chronicles, and Maccabees. As a note on the copyright page says, "Donald Jackson, as Artistic Director, gathered a group of artist-calligraphers and illuminators from around the world" for the project incomparable in ambition and quality. The original is held at the Hill Museum and Manuscript Library at St. John's University founded by the St. John's Abbey of Benedictine monks which is the publisher of the volumes. This Historical Books volume--as the others--comes as close to the original in appearance and quality as possible in a printed book. The pages are off-white resembling the vellum pages of the medieval illuminated religious books which are the inspiration and model for the St. John's Bible project. Beginning paragraphs of sections have decorative initials of their first words, with the text in a legible medieval cursive. Medieval writing and art techniques using eggs, feathers, calf skin, hand-ground inks, and gold and silver accent were used for different parts of the book. The illuminations--i. e., illustrations--are bright and shimmering. For the most, they are abstract, geometric, mosaic-like designs, in some cases with figures or symbols as a part of them. In keeping with the style of medieval books, besides larger illustrations, the Historical Books has some smaller marginal illustrations (sometimes called vignettes). In this volume, these are mostly insects, e. g., ants, honey bees. The illustrated matter of insects--while it may seem idiosyncratic--is also in keeping with the medieval illuminated books--in which are found images of cows, cats, and other animals of the agrarian culture of the period. Medieval illuminated books were the inspiration and model for this and the other St. John's Bible volumes. But Jackson and the other artists did not confine themselves to the ancient model. Artistic director Jackson aimed for a modernized, ecumenical style. Middle Eastern and Judaic imagery as well as Catholic as in the Middle Age books can be seen in the illustrations; and there are touches of Hebrew and Greek script mostly as marginal complements to the basic cursive script of the text. The work is an artistic delight for any reader. But as for the Middle Age illuminated books made by monks working in scriptoria, this work was done mainly with a religious purpose in mind. Like the medieval books, it is basically a work of religious art intended to be a form of praise of God for believers.

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