Rare Bible at Augustana College

November  18, 2013

     A very rare edition of the Bible is now on display at Augustana College. It's a copy of the first hand-written and hand-illustrated Bible in more than 500 years, that was commissioned by Saint John's University in Minnesota, and took 15 years to complete. The full seven volume set will be at the Augustana library for the next month, and the college will get to keep two volumes for a year.

     Augustana campus chaplain, Kristen Glass Perez, says it really impresses students who usually read the Bible on their phones. 

     "I've been struck by how moved students have been by encountering this grand bible on this grand scale. It's hand-written and hand-illuminated and it really makes you stop and look and become engaged with the text."

      Her favorite illustration, or illumination, helps introduce the Gospel of Matthew. 

      "It lists the genealogy of Jesus. The illumination is a menora showing that Jesus comes from the people of Israel. And one of the really cool things is that because this is the end of the 20th century, there are strands of DNA running through the menora to give a visual clue that we knew about DNA at this time."

      Perez says the Saint John's Bible will be used for a variety of classes, such as art, art history, religion, and literature. And students will also be able to compare it to the other illuminated manuscripts in the library's collection.  Local residents are invited to view the Bible whenever the library is open.


(photo: introduction to the Gospel of Matthew)