Interview: discussing the Saint John’s Bible with Jonathan Homrighausen

Jonathan Homrighausen is a PhD candidate at Duke University, working on Hebrew Bible. He’s also a writer and scholar on Scripture, art, and interreligious dialogue. While he was working on his MA at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, CA, he began researching The Saint John’s Bible. His interest continued to develop to the point that he wrote a book about it: Illuminating Justice: The Ethical Imagination of The Saint John’s Bible (Liturgical Press, 2018), which ‘explores the call to social ethics in The Saint John’s Bible, the first major handwritten and hand-illuminated Christian Bible since the invention of the printing press.’

If you’re interested in the history of the Bible, biblical manuscripts and their physicality, art and the Bible, the liturgical use of the Bible, or just the Bible, period, you’ll enjoy this interview. Here’s the questions I asked Jonathan:

  1. First, what is The Saint John’s Bible? When, where, and how did it come about?
  2. Can you tell us about your professional training and how The Saint John’s Bible became of interest to you?
  3. I’ve read that this is the first Bible of its kind made since the popularization of the printing press. What does this mean and how does it help us understand the history of the Bible?
  4. Many of us might not think much about the intersection between art and the Bible. How does The Saint John’s Bible shed light on that relationship?
  5. My friend, Michael Barber of the Augustine Institute in Denver, has said something to the extent that we sometimes forget the Bible’s purpose was liturgical or sacramental long before it became an object of research. How does The Saint John’s Bible help us think about the liturgical purpose of the Bible?
  6. Your book, Illuminating Justice: The Ethical Imagination of The Saint John’s Bible, ‘explores the social ethics in The Saint John’s Bible’. How does this Bible uniquely provoke ethical/moral thinking? Or, another way of asking: How does the Bible provoke ethical/moral thinking in a way that’s different from any other Bible I might purchase?
  7. If I wanted to see The Saint John’s Bible, what would I have to do?

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