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St. John's Bible: Home

Information about the St. John's Bible

About the Saint John's Bible

The Saint John’s Bible is the first Bible to be commissioned by a Benedictine Abbey in more than 550 years. The seven-volume Bible, with more than 1100 pages of calfskin vellum, has been handwritten and hand-illuminated over the course of eleven years. This Bible has been written in a newer translation – the New Revised Standard Version.

Thanks to a generous donor, Ken Ballweg, Edgewood College began with a program called “a year with the St. John’s Bible”. The following year, through several donor’s enthusiasm, including faculty and staff, Edgewood College was able to permanently acquire the complete Heritage Edition.

Heritage Edition volumes of the Saint John's Bible are on display at various college campus locations. One of the volumes is available to view at the library.

We also own standard print copies of the Saint John's Bible, which may be checked out.  See the links to the Saint John's Bible Printed Editions on the resources page.


Gospel According to Matthew
Students looking at St. John's Bible
Illumination of horsemen
Donald Jackson showing bible to Pope Francis
Artist painting page of the St. John's Bible
Illumination of Pentecost
Donald Jackson looking at page of the Bible
Illumination of dragon flies
Donald Jackson writing the St. John's Bible
Illumination of Peter's Confession
Illumination of the genealogy of Jesus

Fun Facts

  • Egg yolks and water (often called "egg tempura") were mixed with powdered pigments to make a thicker, more vivid ink/paint in the original Saint John's Bible.
  • Six different scribes worked on the Saint John's Bible over a duration of 11 years. Because of this, you can see subtle differences in the final script.
  • Goose, turkey and swan feathers were used as quills. Goose quills were used for the main lettering, while turkey and swan quills were used for larger letterforms.
  • Mistakes made by scribes while writing the Bible were fixed by covering them up with illustrations of animals like birds, lemurs, and insects. 

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