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Arrival of The Saint John’s Bible is Symbolic for Two Institutions, One Library

January 12, 2011 - Imagined from the beginning and seen as symbolic of further fostering a unique academic partnership, the College of Notre Dame and Loyola University Maryland in Baltimore, Md., have received and will share a fine art edition of The Saint John’s Bible. The Heritage Edition volumes will be part of special collections at the Loyola/Notre Dame Library, a jointly held library which serves both institutions. Loyola/Notre Dame Library is jointly funded by the two colleges and administered through a separate board of trustees.

The Loyola/Notre Dame Library introduced the Heritage Edition to the two communities with the installation of the exhibit “The Saint John’s Bible: Inspiration and Illumination,” which began on Oct. 25 and ran through Dec. 3 in the Ferguson Gallery. As part of the exhibit, the library hosted a faculty forum on Nov. 8 featuring five faculty members of College of Notre Dame’s Religious Studies Department and Loyola University’s Department of Theology. The forum panel presented Isaiah 53 “The Suffering Servant” from the Prophets volume to a standing-room-only audience of faculty, students and friends. The response to the forum was overwhelmingly positive and faculty members are encouraging library staff to “do more of this.”

“The scope, richness and size of The Saint John’s Bible is so powerful. It will serve our institutions’ scholarly community in so many ways,” said John McGinty, library director. “The Bible will be organic to our collection and will complement our large circulation in religious and biblical studies.”

For the introductory exhibit and forum, the library created an impressive environmental graphics display including large banners for each of the four Heritage Edition volumes on display under glass and framed prints of Saint John’s Bible illuminations. According to McGinty, the library plans to permanently exhibit the volumes where they will be used and not just viewed.

The arrival of the fine art edition in Baltimore and at Loyola/Notre Dame Library is unique in many ways. First, this is the first time two separately incorporated institutions have formally agreed to share the Heritage Edition. Second, The Saint John’s Bible is now home in the Archdiocese of Baltimore, the first archdiocese established in the United States in 1789. Last, because of its location in the city of Baltimore, its place between the two campuses and its proximity to John Hopkins University, the Loyola/College of Notre Dame Library staff sees many opportunities to share the Bible and offer programming both on and off campus.

In 2009, the Walters Art Museum exhibited “The Saint John's Bible: a Modern Vision through Medieval Methods,” which included folios from the original manuscript (Prophets and Wisdom Books). After Los Angeles and Phoenix, Baltimore is the third largest U.S. city to have a fine art edition of The Saint John’s Bible. To learn more, visit www.saintjohnsbible.org.