Library hours

Fall 2014 hours

Mon - Thu: 7:30 a.m. - 11 p.m.
Fri: 7:30 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Sat: 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Sun: 1 p.m. - 9 p.m.

See hour details for holidays

Contact information

Fr. Peter Tynan, Special Collections Librarian and Archivist

About the Saint John's Bible Heritage Edition

The Saint John's Bible

The Saint John’s Bible was commissioned by Saint John’s University and Abbey in 1998 “to ignite the spiritual imagination of believers throughout the world.”  It is the first hand-written, illuminated Bible commissioned by a Benedictine monastery since the invention of the printing press. Saint John’s is Saint Martin’s founding abbey (1895).

The 73 books of the Old and New Testaments have been collected in seven volumes: Gospels and Acts (2002), Pentateuch (2003), Psalms (2004), Prophets (2005), Wisdom Books (2006), Historical Books (2010), and Letters and Revelation (2011).

This remarkable artistic creation fuses contemporary themes and technologies with centuries-old techniques and materials. Page layouts and line breaks were designed on a computer. The pages themselves are calfskin vellum, and the script was written with goose, turkey and swan quills dipped in lampblack ink made from rare nineteenth century Chinese ink sticks. Hand-ground pigments - vermillion, lapis lazuli and others - were combined with egg yolk and water to form paints for the illuminations, which were embossed with gold and platinum leaf. The illuminations were created with traditional techniques, but incorporate contemporary themes and images.

The original Saint John’s Bible is housed at the Hill Museum and Manuscript Library at Saint John’s University in Collegeville, Minnesota.

Heritage Edition

The Heritage Edition is a full-size, fine art edition of The Saint John’s Bible. Donald Jackson, the artistic director for The Saint John’s Bible, was also the artistic director of the Heritage Edition, working with leading experts in printing and binding to ensure the faithful and consistent representation of the original. Production was limited to 299 sets, each numbered and signed by Jackson. Saint Martin’s University is the only library in western Washington that owns a set of the Heritage Edition.

The approximately 1160 pages of the seven volume Heritage Edition are printed on uncoated cotton paper with an innovative, high-tech, ultraviolet printing process. Illuminations are embossed with gold and silver foil to replicate the effects of the gold and platinum leaf of the original. The volumes are bound in handcrafted, embossed Italian calfskin with a silver clasp. Like the original, the volumes are monumental in size: approximately 2 feet tall by 3 feet wide when open and weighing from 13 to nearly 20 pounds.

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