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Art Interpreting Scripture

Illuminated page from the St. John's Bible

Illuminated page from the St. John's Bible

Characters in and Creators of the Bible
April 15, 2017 - April 1, 2018

Curated by Jonathan Homrighausen

This exhibit juxtaposes biblical art with text in creative ways, combining bibles from Archives & Special Collections with a selection of washi prints from the travelling exhibit Beauty Given by Grace: the Biblical Prints of Sadao Watanabe. Using illustrations by contemporary biblical artists, this exhibit invites you to reconsider biblical texts as theological artifacts. Just as Jesus is the Word made flesh, every copy of the Bible is the Word made paper, leather, vellum, glue, and ink. Every printing of the Bible is an interpretation of the text, an exercise in the incarnation of Scripture.

The first part of this exhibit, "Characters in Scripture," creates a dialogue between three contemporary artists' treatment of well-known biblical figures: Adam and Eve, Elijah, John the Baptist, Jesus, Esther, and Mary, mother of Jesus. Biblical artists Donald Jackson, Barry Moser, and Sadao Watanabe visually interpret these characters through differing mediums that may or may not harmonize with traditional representations. The second part of this exhibit, "Creators of Scripture," focuses on various artistic bibles drawn from the continuum of book printing history. Dating from the fourth century up to now each bears the stamp of its creator's context and theology and exemplify trends in creating bibles, from medieval Christian illuminated manuscripts to San Francisco Bay Area printers inspired by the Arts and Crafts movement.

More than just a display of rare books, we invite you to treat this exhibit as itself a biblical interpretation.

About the Curator

Jonathan Homrighausen is a student assistant in Archives & Special Collections and an M.A. student in Biblical Studies at the Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University. He is a co-author, with J. David Pleins, of Biblical Hebrew Vocabulary by Conceptual Categories: A Student's Guide to Nouns in the Old Testament (Zondervan, 2017), and is currently under contract with Liturgical Press to write a book on The Saint John's Bible.

Mar 28, 2017