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About The Saint John’s Bible

The Saint John’s Bible, the world’s newest handwritten, hand-illuminated, grand-scale Bible, was commissioned in 1998 by the Benedictine monks of Saint John’s Abbey and University in Collegeville, Minnesota, and produced under the leadership of artistic director Donald Jackson, scribe to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

It is the first such Bible to be commissioned by a Benedictine Abbey since the advent of the printing press in the 15th century. The Saint John’s Bible Heritage Edition is a numbered, full-scale fine art reproduction of the original. Only 299 of the special Heritage Edition have been printed, and St. Mary’s University was the first in Texas to obtain the seven-volume set, thanks to a generous benefactor.

With the acquisition of the The Saint John’s Bible Heritage Edition, St. Mary’s University has an extraordinary opportunity to emphasize its Catholic identity through its Center for Catholic Studies, a think tank and leader in Catholic thought. The Heritage Edition serves as a centerpiece of the Center and attracts the public to view it and academics to conduct scholarly research.

The Heritage Edition also serves as the foundation of the Escobedo Saint John’s Bible Lecture Series, an important offering to the San Antonio and South Texas communities, and will be integrated into coursework and other aspects of University life.

Image from The Saint John's Bible

The Heritage Edition and University Life

Illuminated illustration depicts Day 1 of Creation in the St. John's BibleThanks to a generous gift from former Board of Trustees Chairman Ruben Escobedo, a 1960 graduate of St. Mary’s, and his wife Veronica Salazar Escobedo, the Escobedo Saint John’s Bible Lecture Series was created and allows St. Mary’s to share the remarkable illuminated pages with members of the St. Mary’s community, and faith communities from across Texas and the nation. Each year, through the Lecture Series, the University invites scholars to campus who use the Bible as inspiration for their presentations at St. Mary’s and at Holy Rosary Catholic Church adjacent to the campus as part of an important collaborative partnership with the San Antonio Archdiocese.

At St. Mary’s, the volumes of The Heritage Edition have been in classrooms, at new student orientations, in campus liturgies and at the Marianists’ residential communities. In addition, volumes are exhibited year-round in special hand-crafted display cases in St. Louis Hall, the University’s signature building, and the Louis J. Blume Library on campus. In addition, groups of faculty, students, parents, alumni and donors have marveled at the Bible during off-campus events at which The Heritage Edition has been exhibited.

More Information About The Heritage Edition at St. Mary’s

For more information about The Heritage Edition at St. Mary’s University or to request a presentation to your parish, church, school or belief community, contact Bob O’Connor, Ph.D., Director of The Saint John’s Bible Project at St. Mary’s, at 210-436-3799.

For additional information on The Saint John’s Bible, visit

Read more about the St. John’s Bible at St. Mary’s

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