If You Love Books…

. . .then you might find these things fascinating.

First of all, Crossway is coming out with the Literary Study Bible.

I love this idea. When I was in college and learning critical theory of literature, and we studied parts of the Bible in that way, it opened up a whole new way of looking at God’s Word and I was just fascinated by it. So I was thrilled to hear about this version of the Bible. Plus, it’s an ESV translation, which is even cooler.

And on a whole other coolness scale is a Bible you’ll never be able to own.

A scribe bends intently over a worktable in his scriptorium in Monmouth, Wales. The page before him is vellum—calfskin sanded to a velvety smoothness. His goose quill pen has been hardened in hot sand and cut with a knife to hold ink and to create a precise line. He dips the end into vermilion pigment mixed with egg yolk for luminosity and begins to shape the first capital letter of a new chapter of the Bible he is copying.

Finishing this page will take a day. If he makes a mistake, he will have to scrape the vellum and write the word or line over again. The pressure is greater because the other side has already been illuminated—biblical themes spun into a visual tapestry of brilliant colors, evocative imagery, and radiant gold.

But the scribe’s hand is guided by long experience and a clear idea of the words’ pattern on the page. The line length has already been worked out by computer to ensure a perfect fit. The accompanying illustrations are the result of months of e-mail messages between the scribe and those who have commissioned him, discussing theological interpretation and symbolism. Medieval artistry with a modern twist: That’s the achievement and the challenge of the Saint John’s Bible, the first handwritten, illuminated Bible in 500 years.

Here’s a slide show of the process and some of the pages.

Wow.