Thursday, June 6, 2013

Word and Image

In Word and Image, Michael Patella explores the principles, intentions, and aims of The Saint John's Bible—the first handwritten and hand-illuminated Bible commissioned by a Benedictine abbey since the invention of the printing press. Patella focuses not on how it was made but on how it can be read, viewed, and interpreted in a way that respects biblical inspiration and Christian tradition in our postmodern context. It is a book that is sure to appeal to academics, pastors, teachers, and educated laypersons. 

When you go to the Saint John's website to order, make sure to enter the Promo Code: WORD30 for the 40% off pre-order price

The Saint John's Bible is a magnificent memorial of two millennia of Christianity. This volume by Fr. Michael Patella and his collaborators provides a useful framework for understanding both the project as a whole and the art that illuminates the Biblical text.  It will be of interest to anyone concerned with the intersection of Scripture and the visual arts.” 
       Harold W. Attridge
       Yale Divinity School


Jason Engel said...

I admit a level of frustration that this book's release has been delayed a couple times. I am eager to read it, in part because I have met the author and found him to be very engaging an dynamic.

Timothy said...


I have the same level of frustration as you do. I have had it on pre-order in the past, but with all the delays, I decided to hold off until it actually is released.

Theophrastus said...

An update from Amazon:

From: ""


We now have delivery date(s) for the order you placed on March 23, 2013 (Order# [...]):

Michael Patella "Word and Image: The Hermeneutics of The Saint John's Bible"
Estimated arrival date: July 10, 2013


We hope to see you again soon!


Customer Service Department

Theophrastus said...

Well, my copy did arrive today; and I have to say I am a little disappointed.

The book is far more verbose than it needs to be: large sections of the book are given over to a history of the English Bible (culminating, in this account, in the publication of the NRSV) and medieval manuscripts.

The portion actually discussing the art in the St. John's Bible is relatively limited, and I felt it often dealt with material is a moderately superficial level.

I had hoped for something that might be similar to one of those wonderfully detailed museum catalogues that one sees published by the National Gallery of Art or the Metropolitan Museum of Art or the British Library -- maybe something like Michelle Brown's books on the Lindisfarne Gospels (1, 2) or similarly detailed studies of manuscripts. Michael Patella's book is not at that level.

I think this book will be most useful for those people who have collected the various trade editions of the volumes and want to have a guide for completeness; I'm not sure it is worth buying for the ordinary reader who is not collecting the St. John's Bible.

Timothy said...

I would have thought that more space would have been given to discussing the art of the SJB. Hmm....