Hutchins Library and the Campus Christian Center will turn a page of The Saint John’s Bible

SJB Gold_0From campus press release:

Hutchins Library and the Campus Christian Center will turn a page of The Saint John’s Bible each day of Pope Francis’ historic visit to America.

As a symbol of Christian unity and hospitality, we will join schools, churches, libraries and hospitals in “Illuminating the Mission: 7 Days – 7 Pages”

Beginning Monday, Sept. 21, and each day of Pope Francis’s historic visit to America, Hutchins Library will join institutions across the country by turning to the same page of The Saint John’s Bible.

This simple act will be a rich symbol of Christian solidarity as the American people welcome the Holy Father. There are over 160 illuminations and 1,150 pages in the seven volumes of The Saint John’s Bible.

The Library will display the following illuminations each day.

  • Monday, Sept. 21 Creation (Genesis)
  • Tuesday, Sept. 22 Abraham and Sarah (Genesis)
  • Wednesday, Sept. 23 Ten Commandments (Exodus)
  • Thursday, Sept. 24 Peter’s Confession (Matthew)
  • Friday, Sept. 25 Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes (Mark)
  • Saturday, Sept. 26 Two Cures (Mark)
  • Sunday, Sept. 27 Pentecost (Acts of the Apostle)

According to Saint John’s Rev. Michael Patella, OSB, who chaired the scholarship effort behind The Saint John’s Bible, “These illuminations were specifically chosen because they resonate with values Pope Francis holds dear: hospitality; concern for the poor, sick and marginalized; the dignity of all people; and care for creation.”

In addition to the illuminated pages, a reflection for each day, written by Saint John’s University School of Theology and Seminary, will also be on display.

The Saint John’s Bible is the first handwritten and illuminated Bible commissioned by a Benedictine monastery since the invention of the printing press in the 15thcentury. 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 create this masterpiece. More information on The Saint John’s Bible and the Heritage Edition can be found at

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The library’s display can be found by the library’s entrance, near the Reference Desk. It can be viewed during regular library hours. This exhibit is free and open to the public.

St Johns Page Display_20150921

“What the St. John’s Bible Says to You” Library Display

In continuation of “A Year With the Saint John’s Bible”…


SJB Gold_0

St Johns Creation image

Creation, Covenant, Shekinah, Kingdom, Donald Jackson, Copyright 2006, The Saint John’s Bible, Saint John’s University, Collegeville, Minnesota USA. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

We would like to say “Thank you” to:


John King

Becky Lewis

Mark Ross

and Whitney Withington


for sharing “What the Saint John’s Bible Says to You.”


Now on Display in the Library Lobby


Come Spend a Year with the St. John’s Bible

St. John's Bible Display September 24, 2014

Our display of the St. John’s Bible at the library is almost ready to go.

As you walk into Hutchins Library, you may have noticed work on a new display. There is a new wooden display case as you walk in. Banners are up now. The library is preparing to display Volume 6, “Gospels and Acts” of the Heritage Edition of the St. John’s Bible.

What is the St. John’s Bible?

In 1998, Saint John’s Abbey and University commissioned renowned calligrapher Donald Jackson to produce a handwritten, hand-illuminated Bible. This is an effort that has not been done in almost 500 years. However, it is not just the divine word or a work of art. It is also a work that dares to ask some very modern questions:

  • What if the Bible clearly depicts Adam and Eve, the first humans, as East African?
  • What if the views of Earth from space are borrowed from NASA’s Hubble Telescope?
  • What if the great religions of the world, in addition to Christianity, are referenced wherever possible?

Come explore the answers to those questions and more as you view and spend time with the St. John’s Bible at Hutchins Library.

The Event Details:

The event opens with a public showing at campus convocation on Thursday, September 25, 2014 at 3:00pm in Phelps-Stokes Chapel. The convocation features Tim Ternes speaking on “More Work Than We Knew, More Joy Than We Imagined.” He will describe the 13 year process of creating the first Biblical manuscript commissioned in more than 500 years. After September 25, the display will continue at Hutchins Library until May 15, 2015.

In addition to the display, the library and the college will host a variety of programs related to the St. John’s Bible throughout the campus and the community. Check out the activities calendar for details. Also, Hutchins Library Special Collections and Archives will feature an exhibit of other rare manuscripts, early printed Bibles, and sacred texts from the college’s collection.

An Event Open To All:

The Bible is a work with fans and detractors. Some see it as the Word of God. Others may see it as a great work of literature and storytelling. Others yet may see it as words often misused and misrepresented, a work partly responsible for historic challenges including slavery, conflict and war, and enabling human exploitation of the planet and other people. Whatever your view, this is an exhibit for all, religious and non-religious. Join us and come see what the St. John’s Bible has to say to you.

The convocation on September 25, 2014 is free and open to the public.

The display at Hutchins Library can be viewed during the library’s regular hours.

“A Year with the St. John’s Bible” at Berea College is made possible through a partnership between Hutchins Library and the Campus Christian Center. with support from the Art, General Studies, History, and Religion programs.

Sources for additional information:

Reference Book of the Week: African American Religious Cultures

We continue celebrating Black History Month in our semi-regular series of Reference Book of the Week. This week we look at African Americans and religion in the two-volume set African American Religious Cultures (R 200.899 A2575 2009). This set, edited by Anthony B. Pinn, takes a look not only at the United States, but the American continents. The introduction states that this work is “concerned with the religious worlds of African Americans– the wide-ranging and complex communities of people of African descent who populate the hemisphere” (xxx). Whether you want to learn about the experience of African Americans in organized religions or their experiences in other spiritual paths, this is a good resource for you.

The set is organized as follows:

  • An introduction that provides a good context on African American religious cultures. The introduction discusses how African Americans came to the New World, the experience of slavery, and how their religious traditions have evolved over time in the Americas. The introduction does feature a very good bibliography for further reading.
  • A set of entries in alphabetical order. Topics such African Americans in various mainstream churches (Lutheran, Roman Catholic, etc.) as well as other religious traditions are discussed. The entries run from A (African American mysticism) to R (Rastafari) in the first volume and from S (Santeria) to X (Xango) in the second volume. According to the introduction, this first part of the encyclopedia is “concerned with a sense of religion by means of attention to particular traditions. . . ” (xxxi). Each entry has a bibliography so readers can expand their research on these topics.
  • The second volume also includes a set of essays on larger topics, a chronology of events, and an appendix containing a selection of primary documents. Do note that the essays focus mainly on North America because “it is assumed most users of this encyclopedia are situated in North America, particularly in the United States” (xxxi). However, the essays should be valuable to any reader anywhere in the world.

Overall, this is a basic encyclopedia designed to give readers some solid background information on the religious cultures of African Americans. After using this resource, readers should be able to to do more in-depth reading. One way to do that is by using the bibliographies provided throughout the encyclopedia and locate items cited. For books cited in the encyclopedia, readers here in Berea College can use BANC (our library catalog) to look up any book. For articles cited in the encyclopedia, you can search our Full Text Journals tool to see if we own a particular journal containing the article. If you are a reader at a different college or community, your local library probably has a library catalog and a tool similar to our Full Text Journals tool to help expand your search. At any rate, any time you need assistance, near or far, you can contact our reference desk.

African American Religious Cultures is available in the second floor of Hutchins Library, in the reference section. Just use the call number provided above to find it.