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15.10.06

Remembering the Codex

The best part about driving back home from an early Sunday evening concert at Shriver Hall is getting to listen to a radio show called The Book Guys. This fascinating program about old books and book collecting, hosted by Allan Stypeck and Mike Cuthbert, is a natural match for yours truly. It should come as no surprise that this program, recorded here in Washington and supported by Second Story Books here (the excellent network of stores owned by Stypeck), cannot be heard on any Washington radio station. So, it is really only in my car that I can listen to this excellent program, on the only worthwhile station on the radio anymore, WBJC in Baltimore (91.5 FM, which plays the show Sundays at 8 pm), and it comes in great on the highway between Shriver Hall and my house. Check this list to see if you can hear the show in your area. If not, you can listen online (show no. 0641).

Donald Jackson at work, St. John's BibleLast night, the Book Guys hosted Donald Jackson, the chief calligrapher for a quixotic project called the St. John's Bible (the show will be broadcast on television, at some point on C-SPAN). Jackson convinced the monks of St. John's Abbey, the Benedictine house that runs St. John's University in Collegeville, Minn., to fund his dream of creating a modern manuscript of the Bible, copied entirely by hand on vellum using traditional materials. Once again, for only the most recent time in its 1,500-year history, the Order of Saint Benedict demonstrates its devotion to the preservation of learning. The text used is in English, taken from the NRSV translation, and has been copied by a team of scribes at Jackson's scriptorium, using a script he developed. Far from being simply a recreation of a medieval manuscript, this is a modern work of art, inspired by the jubilee of the new millennium. Although it is a Catholic book, the illuminations and other details of the work draw from other religious traditions and modern sources. It is a fascinating idea, now almost come to realization.

Sections of the nearly completed St. John's Bible -- Gospels and Acts, Pentateuch, Psalms -- are on display this fall in the Jefferson Building of the Library of Congress, in an exhibit called Illuminating the Word: The Saint John's Bible, along with several historic printed Bibles from the Library's collections, through December 23.

1 comment:

Mark said...

Strings, Tigers, TV, and Baltimore, oh my. This is a very diverse and challenging blog.