Illinois Wesleyan to Host a Year with The Saint John’s Bible

Jan. 5, 2018

The Saint John's Bible

BLOOMINGTON, Ill.— A Heritage Edition of the first completely handwritten and illuminated Bible commissioned by a Benedictine Abbey since the invention of the printing press more than 500 years ago – The Saint John’s Bible – will be displayed at Illinois Wesleyan University for a year, beginning Wednesday, Jan. 17.

Made possible by a grant from Evelyn Chapel's Multifaith Fund, the Heritage Edition of the New Testament’s four Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles will be available for the public to view at The Ames Library throughout 2018.

In 1998, Saint John’s University in Collegeville, Minnesota, commissioned world-renowned calligrapher Donald Jackson, senior scribe to Her Majesty the Queen’s Crown Office at the House of Lords in London, England, to lead a team of scribes and artists to originally create The Saint John’s Bible, which was completed in 2011.

Under Jackson’s direction, the seven volumes of the Heritage Edition of The Saint John’s Bible are true to the scale, beauty and artistic intent of original manuscript. IWU will have access to two of these volumes during the course of the year: Gospels and Acts and The Pentateuch.

The University will host four events to launch “A Year with The Saint John’s Bible,” all of which are free and open to the public. Tim Ternes, the director of The Saint John’s Bible at the Hill Museum and Manuscript Library, will offer his expertise during the kick-off events.

Docent Training and Lunch
Wednesday, Jan. 17 – 11 a.m. - 12:45 p.m.
Evelyn Chapel (1301 N. Park St., Bloomington)
Open to students, community members, faculty and staff who are interested in serving as docents of and ambassadors for The Heritage Edition as it is brought into the community for various special events.

Ecumenical and Blessing of The Heritage Edition
Thursday, Jan. 18 – 11 - 11:45 a.m., Evelyn Chapel
Local clergy, as well as the Prioress from St. Mary’s Monastery, will participate in a service celebrating the beginning of the community’s “Year with The Saint John’s Bible.”

The Interfaith Power of The Saint John’s Bible
Thursday, Jan. 18 – 4 - 5 p.m., Evelyn Chapel
Tim Ternes will discuss the ways the Bible was informed by multifaith conversation at ReligiosiTEA, IWU’s weekly gathering for interfaith dialogue.

A Revolution in Illumination and Imagination: Introducing The Saint John’s Bible
Thursday, Jan. 18 – 6:30 - 8 p.m.
Presser Hall, Westbrook Auditorium (1210 N. Park St., Bloomington)
Guests will be introduced to the story behind the creation of The Saint John’s Bible through video, projected imagery, dynamic reproductions and engaging discussions.

For more information about Illinois Wesleyan’s events involving The Saint John’s Bible, please contact University Chaplain Elyse Nelson Winger: More information about The Saint John’s Bible and the Heritage Edition can be found at

By John Twork