Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Taking down Gutenberg!

A few year back I read a review that pretty much inspired by interest in this podcast, and Christian film in general. I actually found that review today, and it comes from Ain't It Cool News. The review is of the film Left Behind, and it offers this tidbit that really touched my heart: "To be blunt, Christians had the market on good art cornered just a few hundred years ago -- and now I have to be GLAD that they've finally made a movie that's RISEN to a Sci-Fi Channel level, with all the inherent logic flaws that implies' THIS from the people who brought you St. Peter's Cathedral!"

The review was very even-handed, generally bemoaning the cheesyness of the plot and characters, and wondering why all the amazing imagery from the Bible didn't merit a bigger budget and actors of higher caliber than Kirk Cameron. To be fair, I think the flaws with the Left Behind movies start with the much larger flaws in the Left Behind books, but I digress.

What about great Christian art? Well, we've seen some good movies on the podcast, but there is a project I read about in this month's Christanity Today that puts them to shame in its beauty and craftsmanship. I'm talking about that page you see at the top of the post, which is from St. John's Bible, a new, completly hand-written and fully illumianted Bible. According to their website, they may be the first hand-illuminated Bible to be produced in over 500 years.

The CT article isn't online yet(but and old one is, from 2000), but it has an interesting point about Christanity completly abandoning the handwritten artform in favor of the printing press. This may have been the correct pragmatic decision in getting the Gospel out to all nations, but losing it also meant that one of the earliest Christian art forms was also lost.

Well, now it's back and it's amazing. The St. John's Bible is still severarl years from completion, but you can see the traveling art exhibtion, or view their website to see examples.

The hand-written Bible will be a one-off production, but there will be prints made. They have a $65 reproduction of the Gospels and Acts which might be in my price range for a Christmas gift. Or, if you're feeling like a big spender, why not buy the Heritage Edition? An excat, full size reproduction of the hand written manuscript, in seven volumes, for only$115,000.

Oh, I just discovered this! It's a bit buried in the website, but they have a flash presentation of the ENTIRE BIBLE SO FAR! Check it out!

This is the kind of art that Christians need to be making. Some of the people working on this project aren't even Christians, merely artists drawn to the amazing project and the history of the art form. This is a uniquely Christian piece of art that celebrates God and has the potential to reach the world through it's beauty.

(from Christanity Today)

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