Igniting the Spiritual Imagination

The Saint John's Bible Heritage Edition is a fine art reproduction of the first illuminated manuscript bible produced in over 500 years. Limited to 299 copies, the purpose of this signed and numbered edition is "to ignite the spiritual imagination of people around the world of all faith journeys." All 73 books from the Old and New Testament are presented in seven volumes that took 11 years to complete. Inked stamps, textile patterns, and other motifs carry themes across volumes. A wide range of artistic styles, including iconography, abstraction, chrysography, and illustration, work together to expand visual vocabulary for the sacred. As a work of sacred art, it stands alone. These volumes can be used in liturgies, by scholars, and in the daily life of a faith community.

Joining the Pentateuch and Gospels and Acts, the highlight of our Saint John's Bible Fall Program is Xavier University's most recent volume, Psalms, known as the prayer book of the church.

Each of the five books of Psalms (or "praises") has a unique script, a lighter weight script, which underscores the melodic and poetic nature of Psalms. This distinctive volume contains special treatments which hint at the ways in which we might "see" Psalms if they are sung or read poetically. Recordings of Saint John's monks singing Gregorian Chant, Native American sacred song, a Jewish men's chorus singing Psalms, a Buddhist sacred song, an Islamic call to prayer, and a Taoist sacred song have been used to make "digital voice print" stamps that are seen moving across every page, indicative of the many traditions that praise God through sacred song.

*Excerpted and adapted, The Saint John's Bible, Order of Saint Benedict, Collegeville, Minnesota, USA. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


Join us for Diane von Arx

Sponsored by: Office of the President, University Library, Center for Interfaith Community Engagement, Department of Art, Mission and Identity

Diane received an Associate Degree from Jefferson School of Commercial Art and has over 45 years experience working in the creative field as a graphic designer. She has taught calligraphy and related classes in Minnesota for over 40 years and for the past 35 years she has taught workshops throughout the U.S. and Canada. She also conducted workshops in Japan and Australia. Her work is published in the 22nd and 23rd Editions of the Speedball Textbook. Diane is part of the artistic team for The Saint John's Bible and recently completed the design, lettering and illuminations for the donor volume, The Book of Honor. It is the eighth and companion volume to TSJB.

Name Lettering

Dates: Thursday, March 22 2018 from 11:00 am - 1: 00 pm
Location: Gallagher Student Center, facilitated by Interfaith Community Engagement

Nationally known calligrapher, Diane von Arx, visits Xavier University. Diane did treatment work (four illuminations) for the Wisdom Books volume of the Saint John's Bible (SJB), the most recent acquisition of the set for the University.

Public Lecture

Special Treatment Illuminations for the Saint John's Bible

Dates: Thursday, March 22 2018 at 7:00 pm
Location: CLC Kennedy Auditorium: Special Treatment Illuminations for the Saint John's Bible

The focus of this talk is geared toward a general audience including those with an interest in calligraphy, illumination, book arts, sacred art, design, and illustration. Working under artistic director, Donald Jackson, the lecture will provide an overview of being a part of the St. John's Bible project. Challenges, communication issues, and artists working together for a particular production purpose will be some of the topics covered. Diane will also discuss the creative process of her own work, including her Wisdom Books illuminations for the St. John's Bible, and the rewards of her art form. There will be time for questions at the end of the lecture and an opportunity to view Xavier University's Heritage Edition of the Wisdom Books volume. We anticipate an eager crowd and kindly ask that you register for this free event.

Gallery Talk

Dates: Friday, March 23 2018 from 12:00 pm - 12:50 pm
Location: McDonald Library first floor garden area

Students, faculty, staff, and others are invited to participate in a Question and Answer session with the calligrapher, Diane von Arx.


Dates: Friday, March 23 2018 from 6:00 pm - 9:30 pm
Location: Cohen 168c

Participants in this workshop will illuminate and decorate a letter using some traditional methods and tools which will include the use of gold leaf and color. Each person will choose colors and areas to gild as we go through the process of laying base for the leaf and painting and patterning the background of the letter. There will be no participation fee and the Department of Art will provide supplies. However, registration will be limited. Please contact Ken Gibson (gibsonk6@xavier.edu or 513-745-4359) with your interest.