On The Rich Times, one of the first things that we do is check whether the item in question is sufficiently expensive or luxurious or rare enough that it bears enough merit to be written about. One of the easiest way to check this is by having a look at the price tag. For like it or not, everything in this day and age has a price. Except for this Saint John’s Bible.
The Saint John’s Bible took 15 years to create and it is not just a work of art but also a labor of love. The Bible was officially commissioned in 1998. Artist Donald Jackson worked on it using goose quilled pens, calf skinned paper (vellum), and homemade inks. The result is a hand written and illustrated bible for the first time since the printing press was invented 500 years ago. The Bible is in seven volumes totaling to about 1,100 pages. The bible stands two feet tall and three feet wide.
Benedictine scholars were called in to advice Jackson and his team of helpers on which passages ought to be picked out for creating images as well as elaborate lettering.
So rare and valuable is the original that even the Pope had to make do with a limited edition replica for his viewing. The bible was conceived to celebrate the millennium in 2000 and it is hoped that this St. John’s Bible serves as an inspiration to the future. The project was initially expected to take six years and cost $3 million ; but it ended only twelve years later at a cost that was a lot higher, but one which the creators refused to name. The actual price would only be known if it were to be put up for sale or auctioned, but since there is no chance of this happening – the value of this Bible will simply never be known. Also, it is impossible to place a price on such a work which is clearly from the heart. The Bible was created from donations valued from as little as $1 to as much as millions of dollars that came from families and collections (which included help from Boy Scout Troops). Having been written in the twenty first century, the Bible shows the evils plaguing modern world such as cancer, the AIDS virus, starving faces that trouble mankind today. An international team of about 20 calligraphers and illustrators helped Jackson prepare the English text using a special calligraphic style or “hand” that he designed just for the Bible.
St. John’s is producing a full-scale, near-facsimile version known as the Heritage Edition. Only 299 copies of that version are being published. Initially priced in 2006 at $115,000 for a seven-volume set, those books have gone to more than 40 collectors, libraries, universities and churches, including the Vatican Library and Museum in Rome and the Morgan Library and Museum in New York City.
Surprisingly, Jackson is not a Catholic and is not even a religious person, but writing the entire bible by hand and being the only person on the planet of having done so has made him a changed man.