Munday Library gifted historic St. John’s Bible for 2019-20 school year


Calista Robledo/Hilltop Views

Students gathered in the Munday Library to witness the unveiling of the newly gifted St. John’s Bible. The original copy was completed back in 2011.

The St. John’s Bible has been acquired by the St. Edward’s School of Arts and Humanities. It is the first handwritten, illuminated Bible commissioned by the Benedictine Abbey in over 500 years and will be on display in the Munday Library for the 2019 – 2020 school year.

As the technology of bookmaking evolved, with the invention of the printing press in 1440, the hard work and dedication of countless individuals was no longer needed to produce Bibles. Therefore, the creation of the St John’s Bible at St. John’s University in Minnesota is a work of art that serves to assess all lines of academia and spirituality.

So much so, that Dr. Richard Bautch, who spearheaded the project, found that “it was created to ignite the spiritual imagination of people of all faiths.”

With the original St. John’s Bible residing in Minnesota, St. Edward’s University is fortunate to possess a copy in the library’s Tocker Reading Room. Numerous events are being held this semester surrounding the Bible; a calendar can be found under the Archives section on the Munday Library’s website.

The most recent event was the weekly Turn and Reflect where Dean of the Library, Pongracz Sennyey, recited a passionate history behind what it took to make this type of Bible during the Middle Ages, along with the scholarly significance of the one St. Ed’s has today.

Not only does the Bible serve as a rich piece of history for students, the librarians organizing and operating the events such as Public Services and Outreach Librarian, Nicole Oglesby, and Archives and Special Collections Librarian, Travis Williams, are exhilarated to be apart of new experiences.

“There are many ways you can look at it from the history of books as technology and how books have been created over time, the many processes it took to make this one,” explains Oglesby when asked about the Bible’s scholarly significance.

As an archivist, Williams found that “It’s a really exciting piece … with my job I’ve got to see a lot of different people come and go and interact with it … it’s been really fun for me.”

The Bible will be on display outside the Tocker Reading Room, but students and staff are able to make appointments online to schedule time with the St. John’s Bible. Whether you are an artist, a writer, a bookmaker, or spiritual devotee, there is much to learn and absorb from the St. John’s Bible, and St. Edward’s University is blessed to have it.