CELEBRATING OUR ENGLISH BIBLE

In 2017 Christendom celebrated the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation. This historic event, coupled with Martin Luther’s ground breading translation, has made it possible for Christians over the last 500 years to read the Bible in the vernacular. The impact of this cannot be overstated. However, the Reformation was not restricted to Germany alone. Circumstances propelled an English movement that yearned for a Bible in its own language.

 

Rental fee for this exhibition is $300 a month. With two months rental a third is offered at no extra charge.

 

DESCRIPTION

CALENDAR

ESSAY

LISTING OF ARTWORKS

The goal of this exhibit is to visually tell the story of how the Bible was translated into English, giving the viewer a new appreciation of the difficulty and challenges faced by those courageous scholars. The exhibit begins by looking St. Jerome, who in the 4th  century translated the Bible into Latin, known as the Vulgate. This translation was in use for a thousand years. In 1522 Martin Luther translated the Bible into German, and later he encouraged William Tyndale to finish his English translation. Other translators followed in with new English versions, and then in 1611 the Kings James Bible, the most beloved of all English Bibles, was published.

 

All of this came at the cost of hundreds of lives and great sacrifice. By realizing the sacrifices that were made to give us the Bible, may we more consciously celebrate this cherished gift, our English Bible.

 

With 33 pieces in Celebrating Our English Bible begins by looking at the Vulgate and includes; a page from a 15th century Book of Hours, a bifolium Latin choir pages, and an etching of St. Jerome. An engraving of Martin Luther accompanies a rare title page of I Thessalonians from his 1529 New Testament. The core of the exhibition has engravings of the English translators beginning with Wycliffe and ending with King James I. There are original pages from the 16th century Tyndale Bible, The Great Bible, Geneva Bible, and the Bishop’s Bible. The Hosea title page from the very first 1611 printing of the King James Version is a special feature, along with an amazing poster that has the entire KJV on one page. Beginning with William Blake’s Vision of Eliphaz show ends with several pieces of art that gives evidence to the power of the English Bible to compel artists to embed the very words of Scripture into their work.

August 10 to November 10, 2019

Gordon-Conwell Seminary

14542 Choate Circle, Charlotte, NC 28273

P: 704.527.9909  |  F: 704.940.5858

Contact: Michelle Littlejohn,  dlittlejohn@gordronconwell.edu

 

 

Celebrating Our English Bible

by Sandra Bowden

 

 

In 2017 Christendom celebrated the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. This historic event coupled with Martin Luther’s ground-breaking translation has made it possible for Christians over the last 500 years to read the Bible in the vernacular. The impact of this cannot be overstated. However, the Reformation was not restricted to Germany alone. Circumstances propelled an English movement that yearned for a Bible in its own language. The goal of this exhibit is to visually tell the story of how the Bible was translated into English, giving the viewer a new appreciation of the difficulty and challenges courageous scholars faced because they believed that having the Bible in the vernacular was vital to the spiritual life of the people and future of the church.

 

LATIN VULGATE

To understand more fully how we got our English Bible it is necessary to look back to the early 4th century translation of the Bible into Latin by St. Jerome. For over 15 years he labored to carefully translate from the original Old Testament Hebrew and New Testament Greek, giving the church the Vulgate. This section of the exhibition includes an etching of St Jerome portrayed at his hermitage in the desert as a penitent, laboring in prayer, while an angel with a trumpet hovers nearby.

 

For over 1000 years Jerome’s Vulgate was the only translation used by the church and was the standard version in the Catholic Church until Vatican II in the 1960s. Because the Vulgate was used for so long, we have a vast number of illuminations and documents using this translation. Several are among the objects in this exhibition. Books of Hours were personal prayer books of devout and wealthy Christian, and they were not only works of art, but also cultural documents of their time. A 15th century illuminated manuscript leaf from a Book of Hours contains David’s beloved 51st Psalm. Elaborately embellished floral designs, characteristic of illuminations in France at this time, surround three sides of the text.

 

Before the 15th century, western music was written by hand and preserved in manuscripts, usually bound in large volumes. In this show there is a striking and rare bifolium (two adjoining leaves) of a musical score with Latin lyrics from a 16th century Spanish Antiphonary. Since there was no commercially printed music, these choir books were placed on a large music stands, while the choir stood in a semi-circle singing from the single score.

 

Around 1450 Johann Gutenberg began experimenting with movable type, and in 1456 he published what is now known as the Gutenberg Bible. Movable type and the printing press changed church history. This exhibition includes a photograph from the Pierpont Morgan Library of their famous Gutenberg Bible. It shows how large margins were left for illuminators to add their embellishments, and as a result, each Gutenberg Bible is unique. Another example of the Vulgate is Psalterium Psalm 119, which was printed by the famous Anton Koberger in Nuremburg, Germany. It attests to the use of the printing press in producing Bibles.

 

MARTIN LUTHER’S GERMAN BIBLE

Martin Luther’s pinning the 95 theses to the door of the Castle Church at Wittenberg was a pivotal event that launched the Protestant Reformation. Although it was common practice for a teacher to post topics for his coming lectures, the outcry and response to his thoughts were more than he expected. Luther was outraged at some of the practices of the church, especially the selling of indulgences. He was adamant that the reading of the Bible should not be for the few elite leaders of the church who could read Latin, but rather the Word of God should be available to everyone. Because of his beliefs and teachings, he was declared an outlaw and excommunicated by Pope Leo X. He was given shelter and protection under the name of Junker Jörg (Knight George) at Wartburg Castle.

 

Luther was convinced that the common person needed to read the Bible, so while he was sequestered in the Wartburg Castle (1521–22) he began translating the New Testament into German. He made forays into nearby towns and markets to listen to people speaking so he could translate as close as possible to the German contemporary language. Interestingly, his translation helped to solidify the German language. The Title Page for First Thessalonians from the 1529 edition of the Luther’s New Testament is included in this exhibition.

 

OUR ENGLISH BIBLE

Wycliffe

The struggle to develop an English translation began with John Wycliffe, a 14th century advocate for a Bible in the vernacular. He was the first to complete a hand-written English translation in 1384, but after his death, he was declared a heretic and his works were banned and burned. Very few fragments have survived. The clergy feared that if the people could read the Bible, the Church would lose both its control and its income. Because Wycliffe had come to regard the Scriptures as the only reliable guide to the truth he is considered a forerunner to the Protestant Reformation.

 

Tyndale Bible
While Germany was in the throes of the Reformation, tensions were growing in England between those that saw the need for an English Bible and the Catholic Church which wanted to keep the Latin Vulgate. During early 16th century, William Tyndale, a brilliant scholar fluent in eight languages, came to the forefront in this struggle to translate the Bible into English. He is sometimes considered the ‘architect of the English language,’ evident in the fact that many of the phrases he coined for use in the translation remain part of our language today. He was profoundly influenced by the writings of Erasmus, a Dutch scholar who taught at Oxford and who believed that the Scriptures should be translated into every language. Meeting resistance from the religious authorities, Tyndale fled to Germany and visited Martin Luther while he was hiding at Wartburg Castle. Luther encouraged him to move forward with the English translation, which he completed in 1525 and printed in Cologne, Germany. Copies were then smuggled into England, only to be confiscated by the clergy and burned. The Title Page with Prologue for the Epistle of James from a 1549 edition of Tyndale’s Bible is included in this exhibition. In 1536, Tyndale was arrested and jailed in Brussels under the conviction of heresy, executed by strangulation and his body burned at the stake.

 

The Great Bible
Tyndale’s dying prayer was that the King of England would embrace his version. Three years later, King Henry VIII, who had withdrawn from the Catholic Church to establish the Church of England, authorized and funded its printing with some minor revisions. This translation became known as The Great Bible, partially for its size, measuring 14 inches in height. This Bible was placed in every church, often chained to the pulpit, and a reader was made available for the illiterate to hear God’s Word in plain English. As a result, the Tyndale Bible continued to play a key role in spreading the Reformation throughout the British Empire.

 

Geneva Bible
Queen Mary I came to the throne in 1553. Rejecting the break with the Roman Catholic Church and establishment of the Anglican Church, she quickly began to turn England back to Catholicism. Using force, she killed hundreds of Protestant leaders, earning the title Bloody Mary. A group of Protestant scholars fled to Geneva, Switzerland, the home of John Calvin, where they worked on a new translation of the Bible that became known as the Geneva Bible. The first full edition of this Bible was printed in 1560.. The Old Testament was translated from the Hebrew, and the New Testament from scholarly editions of the New Testament. This was the first Bible to use numbered verses. It included several study guides, woodcut illustrations, and marginal notes. The Geneva Bible became known as the ‘mass Bible’ because it was smaller and more affordable than previous translations. William Shakespeare used the Geneva Bible, and it was the Bible the Pilgrims brought to the New World.

 

Bishop’s Bible
After the bloody reign of Queen Mary, the reformers returned to England. Queen Elizabeth I was on the throne, and she reluctantly tolerated printing and distributing the Geneva Bible. The Anglican Church opposed the marginal notes in the Geneva Bible, so a less controversial version, the Bishop’s Bible, was published in 1568.

 

King James Bible
In 1604 Protestant clergy asked King James I of England to consider another English translation. They wanted a version with scriptural cross-referencing and clarification, only in contrast with the controversial notes found in the Geneva Bible. King James gathered over 50 scholars who spent six years in study and research to give us what has become the most beloved of all English translations, The King James Bible. Previously translations were the work of a single person, but having a prominent group of scholars work on the translation distinguished the King James Version from earlier Bibles. In 1611, the King James Bible was released, and for more than 400 years it was the household Bible of the English-speaking world. To this day it is still renowned for its majestic style and marvelous prose.

 

20th century translations

Translating the Bible never is a finished project. Since the King James Version was published there have been too many English translations to count, many manifesting new interpretations because of archaeological findings. With the whole Bible translated into nearly 600 languages and portions translated into nearly 3000 languages, it is evident that people still have a passion for translating the Word.

The Message, the work of Eugene Peterson, is an example of continued efforts to publish the Bible in contemporary language. It is not specifically a translation, but rather a paraphrase. According to the introduction to the New Testament, its “contemporary idiom keeps the language of the Message (Bible) current, fresh, and understandable.” In just a few years it has become extremely popular, transcending denominational boundaries and age distinctions.

 

Celebrating our English Bible features artists’ work in which Biblical text is an integral part of their creations. Each piece gives evidence to the power of the Bible, compelling many artists to embed its very words into their art.

 

At the turn of the century three fully illuminated Bibles, remarkable in beauty and quality, were published in the United States. Barry Moser’s designed and illustrated Bible contains 57 engravings. The letterpress, hand printed, hand bound edition published by Pennyroyal Caxton Press in 1999 is on display in this show. The Holy Bible is the magnum opus of Barry Moser's career. It is the only 20th century Bible with original illustrations by one artist for every book of the Old and New Testaments. The last time this feat was accomplished was in 1865 by Gustave Doré. Moser’s original New Testament graces this exhibition. One illustration, The Voice, is his interpretation from the first part of the forty-third chapter of the Book of Ezekiel in the King James Bible, which reads: And behold the glory of the God of Israel came from the way of the east; and his voice was like a noise of many waters and the earth shined with his glory. What a stunning portrayal of His Voice—a waterfall cascading down the mountain bellowing forth its thunderous sounds.

 

In 2000 Tyndale House published The New Living Bible, by Timothy Botts, whose expressive 360-word pictures become a window into the whole Bible. These calligraphic illuminations of the greatest Bible passages are rendered in his unique and personal style, visualize the meaning of the text. One such illumination is in this exhibition with text from Jeremiah 29:11: ‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’

 

In 1998, St John’s Abbey and University commissioned the renowned calligrapher, Donald Jackson, to produce a hand-written, hand-illuminated Bible now known as the Saint John’s Bible. Completed in 2011, it was the first time since the invention of the printing press that such a project had been attempted. The Bible is divided into seven volumes and a reproduction of the stunningly beautiful Psalms book is in this show as well as a poster of one of the illuminations.

 

Vision of Eliphaz by William Blake, a visionary who was deeply influenced by the Gothic and Middle Ages. Nearly all his prints were book illustrations. The set of illustrations for the Book of Job were the last series that Blake finished. Blake’s Job unfolds as a commentary, and he uses the margins to provide a visual and textural emphasis to points of meaning by quoting from the fourth chapter of Job: "Shall mortal man be more just than God? Shall a man, be more pure than his Maker? Behold he putteth no trust in his Saints and his angels he charges them with folly. Then a Spirit passed before my face and the hair of my flesh stood up."

 

Sins on Earth, by Howard Finster, one of the most important outsider folk artists of the 20th century, has inscribed his own personal paraphrase of the biblical text into his painting as a kind of visual sermon. Sue Coe, a currently acclaimed English/American artists, has juxtaposed the passage from the Beatitudes, "Blessed be the peacemakers," with the text from the Ten Commandments, "Thou shalt not kill." Coe is pointing out the contrasts and contradictions in a world with war, where rather than living in harmony and enjoying one another, we bury our young.

 

Adam Back’s The Wounded Word incites many questions. What does this mean? Does it refer to the ever growing attack on Christianity in a secular world? Is it an assault against the Bible itself? Back has literally ripped the Bible in two, exposing various shredded layers, and then attached the two segments to a blood red surface with a fine cord.

 

With their intricate detail and mesmerizing patterns, Celtic illuminations fascinated Nancy Snooks, a Catholic sister from the Los Angeles area. At first glance her illumination titled, Look at the Birds, appears imageless. However, upon closer observation, buried in all the swirling detail, bird forms begin to emerge. The interweaving of images vividly expresses the unity and interdependence of all creation. Her title comes from the passage in the Gospel of Matthew, which reminds us of our complete dependence on God, and our need to trust His care for us.

 Do not worry

 Look at the birds in the sky.

 They do not sow or reap, they gather nothing into barns;

 Yet your heavenly Father feeds them.

 Are you not more important than they?   (Matt. 25-26)

 

Celebrating Our English Bible offers the viewer an opportunity to consider the remarkable treasure that God has given us—the gift of His Word, the Bible. In His wisdom, God chose to communicate with those whom He loves through language. The written word is simply an assortment of markings that have been assigned sounds, clustered together to make a word, and then arranged in sentences, paragraphs and finally, even as books. Through the written word we are able to comprehend the mind of another person across time and place, and to ultimately share in the mind of God. It is important that we recall the significance of having the Bible in our own language. By realizing the sacrifices that were made to give us the Bible, may we more consciously celebrate this cherished gift, our English Bible.

  • VULGATE

    St Jerome and the Angel
    Unknown artist
    Possibly France
    Engraving/etching 1751

    For over 15 years St Jerome labored to carefully translate from the original Old Testament Hebrew and New Testament Greek giving the church the Vulgate. This etching of St Jerome portrays him at his hermitage in the desert as a penitent laboring in prayer while an angel with a trumpet hovers nearby.

     

     

    Psalms 51

    Book of Hours Illuminated Manuscript

    Unknown scribe

    French

    Calligraphy on velum 1420

     

     

    This illuminated manuscript leaf from a Book of Hours contains David’s beloved 51st Psalm. Elaborately embellished floral designs, characteristic of illuminations in France at this time, surround three sides of the text. Books of Hours were personal prayer books of devout and wealthy Christian and were not only works of art, but also cultural documents of their time.

     

    To my hearing thou shalt give joy and gladness: and the bones that have been humbled shall rejoice. Turn away thy face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities...Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation, and strengthen me with a perfect spirit…   Psalm 51: 10-19

     

    Morgan Library photograph

    Photograph 20th century

     

    The famous Gutenberg Bible was printed on paper in 1455. This photograph shows the large margins that were left for illuminators to add their embellishments, and as a result each Gutenberg Bible is unique.

     

     

    Antiphonal Music Leaves

    Unknown

    Spain

    Calligraphy on vellum 1500-1600s

     

    Before the 15th century western music was written by hand and preserved in manuscripts, usually bound in large volumes. This striking and rare bifolium (two adjoining leaves) of musical score in Latin lyrics is from a Spanish Antiphonary. Since there was no commercially printed music, these choir books were placed on a large music stand while the choir stood in a semi-circle singing from the score.

     

     

    Psalterium / Vulgate, Psalms 86 -92

    Johannes Herbort de Seligenstadt printer

    Italy

    Typeset with hand colored letters 1483

    This rare large incunabula Bible leaf in black letter type from the Vulgate was printed in 1483 and has red and blue rebrication done all by a scribe’s own hand. Psalterium means The Book of Psalms and this leaf contains parts of chapters 86 through 93.

  • MARTIN LUTHER

    Martin Luther Portrait

    Unknown

    Germany

    Hand colored engraving 1855c

     

     

    Numerous portraits of Luther have been painted and engraved, and this one was hand colored at a later time. The small vignette at the center bottom shows Luther burning the bull at Worms.

     

     

    Title Page of I Thesalonians

    Martin Luther’s New Testament

    Germany 1529

     

     

    This very rare leaf is from the 1529 Martin Luther New Testament. Luther translated the Bible using an Erasmus’ Greek text while he was sequestered in the Wartburg Castle. His first printing of the New Testament was in 1522. Biographic writings had previously cited a 1529 New Testament, but no copy of that printing had ever been found until a few years ago. So, at this point in history this Title Page of I Thesalonians may be the only one known in existence.

  • ENGLISH TRANSLATIONS

    Wycliffe

    Unknown engraver

    Engraving

     

    The struggle to develop an English translation began with John Wycliffe, a 14th century advocate for a Bible in the vernacular. He was the first to complete a hand-written English translation in 1384, but as a result, after his death he was declared a heretic and his works were banned and burned and as a result very few fragments have survived.

     

     

    Tyndale

    Unknown engraver

    Engraving

     

    William Tyndale, a brilliant scholar fluent in eight languages, came to the forefront in this struggle to translate the Bible into English. He is sometimes considered the ‘architect of the English language,’ evident in the fact that many of the phrases he coined for use in the translation remain part of our language today. Meeting resistance from the religious authorities, Tyndale fled to Germany and visited Martin Luther while he was hiding at Wartburg Castle. Luther encouraged him to move forward with the English translation, which he completed in 1525 and printed in Cologne, Germany. Copies were then smuggled into England, confiscated by the clergy, and burned. Later he was arrested and jailed in Brussels with a conviction of heresy and executed by strangulation and his body burned at the stake in 1536.

     

     

    Title Page with Prologue for the Epistle of James

    Tyndale Bible

    England

    Printed by John Daye 1549

    11 ½ x 7 ½

     

    The Tyndale Bible is considered to be the primary version of our English Bible and this leaf is from the 1549 reprint of the 1537 first edition. William Tyndale, a Catholic priest and popular university teacher was a linguistic genius who wanted to translate the Bible from Latin that only scholars could read, into English for the all people. Because his ideas were not popular with the church he was forced to flee to Germany and Belgium where he translated and printed the New Testament in 1515 into English. Copies of his New Testament were smuggled into England in bales of cotton and sacks of flour. Officials tried to confiscate, buy, and then destroy as many copies as they could. Tyndale was strangled and then burned at the stake in 1536 in Belgium. Tyndale’s dying wish was that the King would change his mind. And indeed, one copy ended up in the possession of King Henry VIII. His New Testament became the basis for later English Bible translations and he is sometimes referred to as the ‘Father of the English Bible.’

     

     

    King Henry VIII

    Unknown engraver

    Engraving

     

    King Henry VIII, who had withdrawn from the Catholic Church to establish the Church of England, authorized and funded the printing of a translation that became known as The Great Bible, partially for its size, measuring 14 inches in height. This Bible was placed in every church, often chained to the pulpit, and a reader was made available for the illiterate to hear God’s Word in plain English.


    I Corinthians 15
    The Great Bible
    England 1541


    Tyndale’s dying prayer was that the King of England would embrace his version for an English Bible, and three years later King Henry VIII authorized and funded it’s printing with some minor revisions. Known as the 1539 Great Bible it was the first authorized Bible for the country and was placed in every church, often chained to the pulpit, and a reader was available so the illiterate could hear God’s Word in plain English. This translation became known as the Great Bible, partially for its size, measuring 14 inches in height.

     

     

    Queen Mary I

    Unknown engraver

    Engraving

     

    Queen Mary I came to the throne in 1553. Rejecting the break with the Roman Catholic Church and establishment of the Anglican Church, she quickly began to turn England back to Catholicism. Using force, she killed hundreds of Protestant leaders, earning the title Bloody Mary.

     

     

    John Calvin

    Unknown

    Engraving

     

    John Calvin was an important French Reformed theologian who led the second generation of the Reformation. Many theologians came to study with Calvin and then returned to their respective countries to establish Protestant churches.

     

     

    Genesis 6, 7 and 8

    Geneva Bible

    England

    Printed by Christopher Barker 1597

     

    Queen Mary I came to the throne in 1553 rejecting the establishment of the Anglican Church and the break with the Roman Catholic Church. She quickly began to turn England back to Catholicism and used force to do this by killing hundreds of the Protestant leaders. This gave her the name of ‘Bloody Mary.” Many Protestant scholars fled to Geneva, Switzerland, the home of John Calvin, where they worked on a new translation of the Bible that became known as the Geneva Bible. The first full edition of this Bible was printed in 1560, but dozens of editions continued until around 1660. The red ruling was added for the well to do. This was the first Bible to use numbered verses. William Shakespeare used the Geneva Bible, and it was the Bible the Pilgrims brought to the New World.

     

    Queen Elizabeth I

    Unknown Engraver

    Engraving

     

    After the bloody reign of Queen Mary, the reformers returned to England. Queen Elizabeth I was on the throne, and she reluctantly tolerated printing and distributing the Geneva Bible.

     

     

    Bishop’s Bible

    Queen Elizabeth I allowed the printing of a what became known as the Bishop’s Bible, released in 1568. This version was less controversial in its marginal comments than the Geneva Bible, however, it never gained a wide appeal.

     

    King James I

    Engraver Unknown

    Engraving

     

    King James I sought peace in the struggle between the various factions of the English church, wishing to have a translation that would be widely approved. He called together over 50 scholars from various church factions to work on a translation. In 1611 the King James Version of the Bible was released and it has remained the most loved and read Bible in the English-speaking world for over 400 years

     

     

    King James Bible

    Cambridge University Press

    England 2007

     

     

    Title Page of Hosea

    King James Bible

    Imprinted by Robert Barker

    England 1611

     

    James I became King of England in 1603. Soon after he was approached by a group of clergy who persuaded him to authorize an improved English translation of the Bible. Fifty-four scholars spent seven years working from Hebrew and Greek manuscripts and earlier English versions. When completed in 1611 the King James Version took the place of nearly all other versions. Various edits were made until 1769 culminating in text as it  today. For nearly 400 years this translation was the household Bible of the English speaking world. It was renowned for its majestic style, superb prose, and as a primary source of the knowledge of salvation and the Gospel message.

     

     

    King James Bible on one page

    Carlisle Printing

    United States

    Offset printing  2007

     

    Using the smallest typeface imaginable this poster contains the entire King James Bible on one page. An amazing printer’s feat.

     

     

    The Message

    Paraphrased by Eugene H. Peterson

    United States

    Published by NavPress 2002

     

    Translation of the Bible is never finished. Since the King James Bible there have been literally dozens of translations. The Message was translated by Eugene H. Peterson from the original languages and is an example of continued efforts to have the Bible published in the language of the people. It is not strictly a translation, but a paraphrase, using contemporary slang and idiomatic expressions to make the Bible as relevant as possible to the twenty-first century reader. From Luther’s perspective this would be the ultimate vernacular translation for an American audience.

     

     

    St John’s Bible: Psalms

    Donald Jackson, calligrapher

    Published by Liturgical Press 2007

     

    The Saint John’s Bible is the first completely handwritten and illuminated Bible commissioned by a Benedictine Abbey since the invention of the printing press. Visual representations of chants from Benedictine, Native American, Muslim, Taoist and other traditions are the basis for illuminations of the Psalms. Every Psalm page features a small gold image that graphically renders the chanting of the monks from Saint John's Abbey. This process of reading of the Psalms is a continuous reminder that the Psalms are to be sacred songs 'and that in such singing God is present. The way the Psalms appear in The Saint John's Bible provide a way to read our favorite Psalms with new eyes so that we might truly see the Psalms whether they are sung or read poetically.

  • ARTISTS CELEBRATE THE ENGLISH BIBLE

    The Holy Bible—New Testament

    Barry Moser

    United States

    Pennyroyal Caxton Press

    King James Version

    Letterpress hand bound book  1999

    On loan from Barry Moser

     

    This New Testament designed and illustrated by Barry Moser contains 57 engravings and is the letterpress, hand printed, hand bound edition published by Pennyroyal Caxton Press. The New Testament, as is customary, was printed before the Old Testament. The Holy Bible is the magnum opus of Barry Moser's career. It is the only twentieth century Bible with original illustrations by one artist for every book of the Old and New Testaments. The last time this feat was accomplished was in 1865 by Gustave Doré.

     

     

    His Voice

    Barry Moser

    United States

    Relief Engraving from The Holy Bible  1998

     

    In the King James Bible, the first part of the forty-third chapter of the Book of Ezekiel reads: And behold the glory of the God of Israel came from the way of the east; and his voice was like a noise of many waters and the earth shined with his glory. What a stunning portrayal of His Voice—a waterfall cascading down the mountain bellowing forth its thunderous sounds.

     

     

    The Holy Bible

    New Living Translation

    Tyndale House Publishers

    Timothy Botts, illustrator

    United States 2000

     

    Timothy Bott’s expressive word pictures become a window into the whole Bible, offering us a beautiful array of modern calligraphic illuminations. Botts has chosen 360 of the greatest Bible passages and rendered them in his unique and personal style that visualizes the meaning of the text.

     

     

    The Plans I Have for You, Jeremiah 29:11

    Timothy Botts  (1947 -    )

    United States

    Expressive Calligraphy  1997

    On loan from Timothy Botts

     

    To suggest the mystery of God’s workings Timothy Botts chose a dark background. It also brings to mind the old blueprints that architects used to lay out their plans. Then he inscribed the most beloved Bible verse on the surface.

     

    “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  Jeremiah 29:11

     

     

    Look at the Birds

    Nancy Snooks

    American

    Ink on parchment paper 2014

     

    Celtic illuminations always fascinated Nancy Snooks with their intricate detail and memorizing patterns. At first glance her illumination appears imageless. However, bird forms buried in all the swirling detail begin to emerge upon close observation. The interweaving of images expresses vividly the unity and interdependence of all creation. The passage from the Gospel of Matthew reminds us of our complete dependence on God, and our need to trust His care for us.

     

    Do not worry

    Look at the birds in the sky.

    They do not sow or reap, they gather nothing into barns;

    Yet your heavenly Father feeds them.

    Are you not more important than they?   (Matt. 25-26)

     

     

    The Wounded Word

    Adam Back

    United States

    Altered book with mixed media c2005

     

    The Wounded Word—what does this mean? Does it refer to the ever growing attack on Christianity in a secular world? An assault aginst the Bible itself? Adam Back has literally ripped the Bible in two exposing various shredded layers, and then attached the two segments to a blood red surface with a fine cord.

     

     

    Vision of Eliphaz

    William Blake (1757 - 1827)

    England

    Engraving for the Book of Job, Plate 9

     

    Blake was a visionary, deeply influenced by the Gothic and Middle Ages. He belongs to that rare species of solitary figures whose development is unrelated to the mainstream of art history. Nearly all his prints were book illustrations.The set of illustrations for the Book of Job were the last series that Blake finished. Blake’s Job unfolds as a commentary and he uses the margins to provide a visual and textural emphasis to points of meaning by quoting from the fourth chapter of Job: Shall mortal man be more just than God? Shall a man, be more pure than his Maker? Behold he putteth no trust in his Saints and his angles he charges with folly. Then a Spirit passed before my face and the hair of my flesh stood up. His interpretation is personal, profound and many-layered.

     

     

    Good News Shoes

    Joan Bohlig  (1936 - )

    United States 1990

    Etching

     

    Joan Bohlig has encircled her charming etching of shoes stacked on a back hall rack with the Isaiah 52:7 passage: How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good tidings, who publishes peace, who brings good tidings of good things, who publishes salvation, who say to Zion,’Your God reigns!’

     

     

    Blessed be the Peacemakers/Thou shalt not kill

    Sue Coe (1951 -)

    England/United States

    Chine collé pages from the KJV mounted on Somerset Antique paper 2006

     

    In this lithograph Sue Coe has juxtaposed the passage from the Beatitudes, Blessed be the peacemakers, with the text from the Ten Commandments, Thou shalt not kill. Coe is pointing out the contrasts in a world with war, where rather than living in harmony and enjoying one another, in war we bury our young.

     

     

    Sins on this Earth

    Howard Finster (1916 - 2000)

    United States

    Painting on board

     

    The paraphrased Biblical text becomes a visual sermon mounted on a board and framed. Sins on this Earch is quintessential Howard Finster, one of America’s most beloved southern outsider artists.

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