McGrath Institute Announces Plans to Showcase The Saint John’s Bible in Free Online Course

Author: Anna Bradley

Notre Dame, IN — The McGrath Institute for Church Life at the University of Notre Dame is pleased to announce its plans to offer an exclusive online course on The Saint John’s Bible, a handwritten, hand-illuminated Bible commissioned out of Saint John’s Abbey & University. The course, Journey with The Saint John’s Bible, will be divided into six units and is scheduled to launch on Ash Wednesday, February 26, 2020. 

The course features instructors from Notre Dame’s Theology department, the Program of Liberal Studies, and the McGrath Institute, as well as The Hesburgh Library’s Rare Books & Special Collections

The course addresses the role of art in Christian life, the tradition of illuminated manuscripts, and unpacks several illuminations from The Saint John’s Bible along with the Scripture passages they depict. Five units will feature videos that explain the illuminations and selections from Scripture, and guided experiences of lectio and visio divina, offering viewers an opportunity to pray with Scripture and art.

The McGrath Institute first hosted the Gospels and Acts volume of The Saint John’s Bible in 2017 and offered a series of lectures and events around it. Donald Jackson, the artist and calligrapher responsible for the Bible’s design, came to campus and shared his story about bringing his lifelong dream of writing the Bible to life through this project. The McGrath Institute was gifted the Heritage Edition of The Saint John’s Bible—a seven volume reproduction of the original manuscripts—by Tim and Mary Sullivan in 2019.

“We are seeking to deepen people’s relationship with Scripture and help them learn how to interpret it through The Saint John’s Bible,” says Carolyn Pirtle, Program Director of the Notre Dame Center for Liturgy at the McGrath Institute. “Art can be used as a gateway to help them do that, and it’s always done with the hope and the goal of drawing them more deeply into Scripture itself.”

Plans for the Institute’s continued use of The Saint John’s Bible include developing resources for teachers and catechists that illuminate how art can enrich and deepen our understanding of and encounter with Scripture. The Institute is also working to make the Bible more accessible to students. 

To receive updates about the free online course, please enter your email below.

Contact: Amy North, Program Director of Communications, 574-631-2894,


Originally published by Anna Bradley at on January 21, 2020.