The Saint John's Bible

The Morse Department of Special Collections counts among its fundamental functions not only the preservation of the past, but also the collection of works that celebrate living creative traditions. The seven-volume Heritage Edition of The Saint John’s Bible is such a work.

In a monumental modern undertaking, Donald Jackson and his team of scribes and artists have combined ancient calligraphic techniques with computer technology to create on calf-skin vellum the first hand-written and hand-illuminated bible commissioned in over 500 years. 

Modern technology takes this ancient tradition a step further in the Saint John's Bible Heritage Edition, where extremely high resolution digital imaging and ultraviolet light printing techniques are used to produce a fine art reproduction of the Saint John’s Bible’s original vellum pages.

In addition to being a religious text, the Bible is a work and record of art, literature, history, and culture. As a modern illuminated manuscript, The Saint John's Bible, in particular, presents us with opportunities to expand our horizons. The sciences, humanities, arts, and social sciences — nearly every discipline taught on our campus — can link programmatic, curricular, and scholarship activities to this great work; however, the greatest opportunities come at the intersections of the disciplines.

Kansas State University alumni Warren and Mary Lynn Staley of Edina, Minnesota have honored us by generously donating their Heritage Edition of The Saint John's Bible. The Staleys have been involved with The Saint John's Bible project since 1998. They graduated from Kansas State University in 1965.


Viewing the Saint John's Bible

It was always the vision of Warren and Mary Lynn Staley that this was a gift that should be shared with as many people as possible.

Inspired by that vision, the Libraries created its first docent program for the Heritage Edition of The Saint John’s Bible.With the support of our trained docents, this work of art can be brought out to your organization to experience firsthand.

To schedule a showing or to find out more information please contact David Allen (, (785) 532-7428) or Jane Schillie (, (785) 532-6017).