It is no secret that our American culture is visually-oriented; we gravitate towards graphics, the silver screen, special effects and web design. Our image-driven culture parades clever comics, print ads, and elaborate scenes before our eyes, sometimes moving us to inspiration and sometimes moving us to consumerism.
Christianity's rich visual tradition is being carried on today in many ways, one of which I recently discovered is The Saint John's Bible, a beautiful, visual rendition of the Scriptures that takes the ancient illuminated manuscript tradition and applies it in a new way. The Smithsonian Magazine calls it, “One of the extraordinary undertakings of our time.”
|An Ancient Scribe at Work|
The book is actually seven volumes, completely hand-written with world-class calligraphy and illustration, and took over fifteen years in the making. The seven volumes all together weigh a total of 165 pounds!
Fellow artists Hilary Brand and Adrienne Chaplin say, "If ever art was made to point beyond itself it is the icon." (Art and Soul: Signposts for Christians in the Arts; p. 85). And perhaps this is the beauty of a visual retelling of the Divine Story as well, as its images guide our hearts to see beyond what it represented on the page, ushering us into the presence of God.