University to Dedicate and Bless Baylor Libraries’ Heritage Edition of the Saint John’s Bible

September 23, 2019
Saint John's Bible graphic

Baylor Libraries, Baylor School of Music and Truett Seminary will host a service of dedication and blessing for the Heritage Edition of the Saint John's Bible at 3:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 27, in Paul Powell Chapel at Truett Seminary.

Service for “beautiful reflection of God’s Word” highlights University’s commitment to Christian heritage and research

Libraries and ITS Contact: Carl Flynn, Baylor Libraries and ITS
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WACO, Texas (Sept. 23, 2019) – To celebrate the Baylor University Libraries’ recent acquisition of a rare Heritage Edition of the Saint John’s Bible, University Libraries, Baylor School of Music and George W. Truett Theological Seminary will host a service of dedication and blessing for this magnificent work on Friday, Sept. 27. The service will begin at 3:30 p.m. in Paul Powell Chapel at Truett Seminary and will be followed by a reception in the Piper Great Hall.

The program will include Scripture readings from the seven volumes of the Heritage Edition, music by the Baylor Chamber Singers and a reflection by Stephen Reid, Ph.D., professor of Christian Scriptures at Truett Seminary.

“This masterpiece unites the art of the Medieval monastery with modern artists and topics in a way like no other Bible in Baylor’s collection,” Reid said. “It is a beautiful reflection of God’s Word, and we are excited to present it to the community in this reverent, engaging ceremony.

“This Bible comes to Baylor at an auspicious time, namely the time frame of the Illuminate strategic plan,” Reid said. “This Bible in some ways gives light to what this vision of Baylor embodies.”

Kathy Hillman, director of Baylor’s Baptist Collections, is part of the group of faculty and staff from the Libraries, School of Music and Truett Seminary working together to bring the event to life.

“We hope this service will make the Bible come alive through spoken and written Scripture, beautiful art and magnificent music so that participants will leave blessed and inspired for the Word of God to be ‘a lamp to their feet and a light to their paths,’” Hillman said.

The Saint John’s Bible was created by master calligrapher Donald Jackson and a team of scribes and artists with the support of the monks of St. John’s Abbey and University in Collegeville, Minnesota. In the 1970s, Jackson had conceived the idea of creating a fully illuminated, hand-lettered edition of the Bible on vellum, the first of its kind in the five centuries since the invention of the printing press.

As the original Saint John’s Bible neared completion, Jackson oversaw the creation of a fine-art edition of the Bible, dubbed the Heritage Edition, which was made available for churches, libraries, museums and other institutions. Only 299 copies of this Bible were created, and Baylor acquired No. 105.

The intricately illuminated, seven-volume version of the Bible – written using the New Revised Standard Version – is accessible to members of the Baylor community and beyond. The Bible is intended to be a resource to further Baylor’s mission and can be featured during services and events, examined in Baylor classes and made available for community events around Central Texas.

“This beautiful resource adds to our canon of book history titles already in our rare collections,” said Beth Farwell, director of Special Collections at the Central Libraries. “It helps connect everything with historical book creation techniques and modern artwork and processing. The Saint John’s Bible answers the call to provide a transformational and unique experience for our students.”

If you are interested in viewing the Heritage Edition, contact Farwell at


Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 17,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 90 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.


The Baylor University Libraries support excellence in teaching and learning, enhance research and discovery and foster scholarship and success. Through its Central Libraries and special collections – Armstrong Browning Library, W. R. Poage Legislative Library, The Texas Collection and The Keston Center for Religion, Politics and Society – the Libraries serve as academic life centers that create knowledge through research resources and innovative technologies that empower the Baylor community and enrich academic conversations around the world.