As readers of this blog learned two weeks ago, this Lenten season, the McGrath Institute for Church Life at the University of Notre Dame is delving deep into The Saint John’s Bible. The Institute has launched a complimentary online course designed to “deepen your knowledge of and relationship with Scripture.” And it isn’t too late to join in.
Notre Dame experts are bringing the Heritage Edition to life through a six-unit course entitled Journey with The Saint John’s Bible. Each weekly unit features reflections on the Bible’s illuminations and corresponding Scripture passages, a thorough reading list, and questions to deepen the experience. Additionally, each unit offers guided experiences of lectio and visio divina. Here’s what’s been covered so far:
Unit One: Scriptural Art: The Beauty of Illuminated Manuscripts
This six-lesson unit includes a collection of lectures covering the tradition of illuminated manuscripts. Viewers will learn about the long tradition of medieval manuscripts, including materials and techniques, and also “engage with the concept of manuscripts as a special art form.” Instructors will help participants gain an appreciation for spiritual reading during medieval times in relation to today’s highly technical world.
The Saint John’s Bible is introduced as “a work of scriptural art, crafted with the same techniques used in the medieval period, yet intended to bring the Word of God to the 21st-century viewer in a new and beautiful way.”
Unit Two: The Creation
In this unit, Director of the Science and Religion Initiative at Notre Dame, Chris Baglow, Ph.D., guides participants on “a deep dive into the Creation illumination.” Dr. Baglow explores the “order, reason, and beauty at work in God’s creation of the universe.” He argues that “The First Creation Account is primarily symbolic — a great work of poetic imagination — that captures a truth deeper than other modes of human writing can convey.”
Unit Three: The Ten Commandments
In unit three, Anthony Pagliarini, Ph.D., Assistant Teaching Professor in the Department of Theology, asks participants to consider the possibility that laws can be creative. Dr. Pagliarini performs a close reading of the Ten Commandments illumination, and explores how law is not “a restrictive burden,” but rather, “a gift from God that frees humanity to live to the fullness of its vocation.”
Unit Four: The Psalms
Assistant Professor for the Program of Liberal Studies at Notre Dame Jennifer Newsome Martin, M.T.S., Ph.D., invites participants to “embrace the richness of biblical prayers” in the book of Psalms. Dr. Martin explores the Psalms Frontispiece illumination and discusses where Psalms fits into the biblical cannon generally and within the larger framework of the Hebrew Bible, including structure, function, and genre. “What I think is really marvelous about the diverse collection of the Psalms,” she reflects, “is that together they are a sacred representation of the entire tapestry of human experience.”
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Unit Five: Wisdom’s Feast
Assistant Professor of Theology Jennie Grillo, DPhil, gives viewers a “glimpse of the Eucharist feast foreshadowed in the Old Testament” and explores the Pillars of Wisdom illumination.
Still to Come — Unit Six: The World Made Flesh
In this unit, to be opened on April 1, participants will be given the opportunity to “marvel at the glory of God fully revealed in the unsurpassable beauty of Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh, the light no darkness can overcome.”
Journey with The Saint John’s Bible will be available until May 31, 2020, offering a valuable opportunity for education and reflection to those looking to make the most of their time at home in the coming weeks. To learn more and to register, click here.