Illuminating the Word: The Making of the Saint John's Bible

By Hefling, Charles | Anglican Theological Review, Spring 2007 | Go to article overview

Illuminating the Word: The Making of the Saint John's Bible


Hefling, Charles, Anglican Theological Review


Illuminating the Word: The Making of the Saint John's Bible. By Christopher Calderhead. Collegeville, Minn.: The Saint John's Bible / Liturgical Press, 2005. 218 pp. $39.95 (cloth).

A reviewer of this book has three formidable challenges to meet: deciding where to begin, what to leave out, and how to include the obligatory cavil.

The starting point is a problem because this is a book about another book, the uniqueness of which gives this book its point and purpose. The Saint John's Bible is (or will be, when it is finished) a set of seven big volumes, written by hand on vellum with decoration in (real) gold and color-an illuminated manuscript, that is, very much in the medieval tradition that faded away as the printing press came into its own. The old scribes' techniques have since been revived, and calligraphic craftsmanship now flourishes, but a project on the scale of the one commissioned by the Benedictine monks of Saint John's Abbey in Minnesota has not been attempted for centuries. How successful the attempt has been can be seen in the published reproductions of the completed volumes. One is inclined simply to marvel at the splendor, the variety, the whimsy, and the ingenuity of the pages.

Several of these pages appear in Illuminating the Word, together with close-ups of many more, yet that is not the book's primary virtue. Christopher Calderhead has gone behind the scenes to trace and lay out in detail the vastly complex and equally fascinating process that brought The Saint John's Bible to birth. Today, what with computers and desktop publishing, making books in the Gutenberg manner is itself a specialized art, and the practices it replaced are all the more so. It would be possible to describe these as a journalist might do, dumbing down the technicalities and playing up the archaism, but Calderhead's approach is in another league entirely. For one thing, the eye he brings to the various skills involved is the eye of an expert. He knows whereof he speaks. For another, he speaks in a prose that is lucid without being chatty, and informative without being didactic. Much of what he has to say takes narrative form-how the idea of a whole hand-written Bible was conceived and how it developed, how actualizing that idea was planned, overall and in detail, how component parts were proposed, tried out, and corrected. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Illuminating the Word: The Making of the Saint John's Bible
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.