Skip to Main Content

The Saint John's Bible, Heritage Edition: The Santa Clara University Library Heritage Edition

A guide to accessing the Heritage Edition of the Saint John's Bible in Archives & Special Collections

Illumination from the Saint John's Bible

Image Credit: Matthew 5: 1-12, The Beatitudes, Thomas Ingmire, Copyright 2002, The Saint John’s Bible, Saint John’s University, Collegeville, Minnesota USA. Used by permission.  All rights reserved

The Heritage Edition of the SJB

“My experience with The Saint John’s Bible was love at first sight. It radiates hope and speaks to people of all faith journeys.”

Tita Crilly Diepenbrock,
Donor of The Saint John’s Bible Heritage Edition
to Santa Clara University

The Heritage Edition of the Saint John's Bible is housed in the Martin Reading Room in Archives & Special Collections. More than a facsimile of the original Saint John's Bible manuscript, the Heritage Edition is a limited edition fine press publication.  The paper is 100% cotton with no artificial whiteners or brighteners, coatings or fillers. The translucent vellum pages of the original make “show-through” an integral part of the artwork. This is recreated on the cotton pages by printing—in reverse—a light watermark of the adjacent page. This archival paper will last for generations. The paper mill where it is produced, Monadnock Paper Mill, is not only the oldest continuously operating paper mill in the United States, but has also achieved carbon neutral status.

The inks used are fade-resistant. This permanent ink is applied through a special printing technique using ultraviolet light. The depth of the images is a testament to the quality of this process. Gold and silver foils are applied by hand to the illuminations to capture the stunning effect of gold and platinum leaf in the original. In ancient manuscripts, it’s the presence of gold that qualifies a manuscript as truly “illuminated.”

The volumes are bound in rich, handcrafted, embossed red leather made from pig skin. The spines are imprinted with the volume title and number in gold foil. Each volume is finished with an ornamental silver clasp.

Archives & Special Collections invites individuals and groups to visit the Norman F. Martin, S.J. Reading Room to experience the Heritage Edition of the Saint John's Bible. Class visits can also be arranged.