The Gospel of John: Annotated & Illustrated

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Today I happily make public the status of a new book project: The Gospel of John: Annotated & Illustrated.  The format and size will be the same or similar to that used for Revelation: an Idealist Interpretation and The Writing Prophets of the Old Testaments.    The Gospel text will be the NKJV version, printed in 14 pt type in Adobe Trajan Pro, a easy-to-read digital serif font created for Adobe by Carol Twombly in 1989.  The Annotations will be printed in 12 pt type in Adobe Caslon Pro, a modern serif type based upon a face created in England by William Caslon in the mid-18th C.    Citations from quoted Scripture used within the Annotations will be set in 11 pt. type with deeper inset on both the right and left than the original use.

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Illustration: Copyright Duchessart|Alamy Stock Photo, Inc.

The working copy of the first chapter at left gives an indication of the book’s look.  The illustration, for the first page of Chapter 1, is a 13th C. mosaic from the Genesis dome at the Basilica of St. Mark, Venice, Italy.  Depicted are two scenes: left, Separating the Light from the Darkness; right, Setting the Firmament.  The Byzantine-style Basilica was completed in the 9th C., with many additions made in later centuries.

John’s Gospel is a book like no other in the New Testament, offering a first hand account of many events not mentioned in the Synoptic Gospels.  Because it was dictated to a scribe, traditionally said to be Prochorus, later Bishop of Ephesus, when read aloud, it has the cadence of a private lecture offering a glimpse into the tumultous final three years in the earthly life of Jesus Christ.  My objective in designing, researching and producing the book will be to let 21st C. readers have their own copy of a Gospel book with the colorful array of imagery used by Christians since the beginning of the 5th C. to pass along to later generations the stories told in John’s Gospel.  Such an experience was once only possible for the very rich and powerful both inside and outside the Church.

As currently imagined, the finished work will run about 200 plus pages, printed in paperback in full colour.  As currently planned, there will also be a digital version made available in Kindle format.   Although the research is mostly complete, based upon the twenty revised and expanded episodes in the AIC Bible Study Video series, New Testament: Gospels, there is no timetable for this project.   There are technical and legal issues to resolve, as well as decisions about the format of Chapters 6, 7, and 8.  These chapters are mostly an extended  — and often heated — dialogue between Jesus and the group of Pharisees, Chief Priests and scribes who followed Him wherever He went, hopeful of catching Him out in saying something they could use against Him.  Earlier generations of illustrators suffered from the same problem, with the result that there are almost no images available between the Feeding of the Multitudes/Calming the Seas/Walking on the Sea in the first half of Chapter 6 and the Healing of the Man Born Blind at the start of Chapter 9.  These dialogues include several of the “I Am” declarations (Bread of Life; Living Bread; Light of the World; and Before Abraham Was, I Am), which I discussed in Episodes Twenty-nine to Thirty-five in the New Testament Bible Study series.  I have been searching the archives of known sources of  illuminated Gospels, lectionaries and private devotionals looking for suitable images.

Illustrations will be chosen from the AIC’s investory of public domain images gathered from around the world from public domain sources and royalty-free photographic services.   They will include mosaics, frescoes, icons, engravings, paintings, enamels, watercolors, charcoal sketches, altarpieces and photographs.   The precious resources from which the images were chosen have been digitized and made available to the public for the first time just in the last decade.   The oldest image is a mosaic from the early 5th C.  The “newest” image is a 2nd Qtr 20th C. stained glass window from the AIC Bookstore Publication Paintings on Light: the Stained Glass Windows of St. Joseph’s Villa Chapel.  

In other news, I will be changing my email address.  The new address is frron.aic@earthlink.net.  This completes the final transition away from references to my former parish which is now closed.   The current email address will remain active until late in the 1st Qtr, A.D. 2020.

As always, thank you for your interest and support.  May God continue to bless you in all that you do in His Name! Amen!

Glory be to God for all things! Amen!

 

New Testament: Gospels – Episodes 28 to 31

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Hoping to get the revisions to New Testament: Gospels online before Christmas (and even more hopefully before Thanksgiving), I’ve accelerated the schedule of uploads.  For the week of October 27th there are four new episodes.  Episode Twenty-eight is focused on how the followers of John the Baptist became followers of Jesus Christ; the calling of the two pair of brothers, Peter and Andrew, James and John; and the dramatic conclusion of Chapter 1.  Episode Twenty-nine is the first of seven episodes focused on the “I Am” declarations, beginning with Jesus’ encounter with the Samaritan Woman at the Well of Jacob, with St. Photina as the first to whom Jesus reveals Himself as Messiah.  Episode Thirty continues with two more “I Am” declarations, the first calming the Disciples at sea and the second being Part 1 of 2 on “I Am the Bread of Life.”  Episode Thirty-one continues the story with Part 2 of 2 of the “I Am the Bread of Life,” plus “I Am the Living Bread,” and Part 1 of 2 in “I Am the Light of the World.”

It is always hard to decide upon a feature image for a multi-episode release.  I have chosen a 1st Quarter, 6th C. A.D. Byzantine-style mosaic of St. Photina and Jesus at the Well of Jacob, one of 13 mosaics in the upper tier in the left wall of the Nave at the Basilica of Sant’Apollinare Nuovo, Ravenna, Italy.  The figure in white is not identified.    Among the professional photographs of the Basilica I could not find a higher resolution version of this image.  Because it is so high up on the wall, it is very hard to photograph without distortion.  The image here is from Wikipedia Commons.  In the video I explain the meaning of St. Photina’s name, her family history, and the traditional story of her death as a martyr.   I also explain why this encounter and the first one in Episode Thirty is presented as an “I Am” declaration.  Among other details I encountered is the tradition that the well-head from this story was bought by a Byzantine emperor and was installed and still exists beneath the Hagia Sophia in Constantinople/Istanbul, Turkey.

Watch Episode Twenty-eight      Listen to the Podcast of Episode Twenty-eight.

Watch Episode Twenty-nine.      Listen to the Podcast of Episode Twenty-nine.

Watch Episode Thirty.      Listen to the Podcast of Episode Thirty.

Watch Episode Thirty-one.      Listen to the Podcast of Episode Thirty-one.

I have recorded and edited into video format (and made the companion MP3 podcasts) for Episode Thirty-two through Episode Forty-one.  These will be released during the early weeks of November.   I still need to record the sound tracks for Episode Forty–two through Episode Forty-five, but will not be able to do so until the week of Nov. 10th.

I have also been upgrading each page on this site, adding images from the newest videos and correcting formatting errors.  In coming weeks, I hope to replace several of the masthead images with material from the videos.  This will not be easy owing to the wide-screen format.  Narrow slices of most images would be unacceptable.  My objective is to make the site more usable in conveying traditional Christian teaching.

As always, thank you for your interest and support. I urge viewers and listeners to share this material with others.  May God bless you in all that you do in His Name! Amen!  Glory be to God for all things! Amen!

 

New Testament: Gospels – Episodes 24 and 25

 

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St. Luke Writing His Gospel  Byzantine illumination in tempera and gold on parchment, 10th C. A.D., Constantinople.  From the Yorck Project (10000 Masterworks of Painting).  Original image is Ms. Additional 28815, Folio 76v, British Library, London, England.

Once again this week I have “doubled up” and uploaded two new episodes in the revised and extended version of our Bible Study Video series, New Testament: Gospels.  In Episode Twenty-four and Episode Twenty-five I complete my discussion of the Gospel of St. Luke.  Both episodes are focused on Unique Content in the Gospel of St. Luke.  Episode Twenty-four is focused on the Kingdom Lectures and the Restoration of Zaccheus.  Episode Twenty-five is focused on three topics, Jesus Before Herod, the Prayer Habits of Jesus, and the important roles for women in St. Luke’s Gospel.   The featured image is a 10th C. A.D. Byzantine illumination in tempera and gold on parchment made at Constantinople, showing St. Luke seated in an upholstered chair with a platform for his feet and in front of a large desk writing his Gospel.  The desk is filled with quills and what looks like a paper knife.  There are scrolls and a inkpot at his feet.  This version does not include the traditional image of an ox, the symbol of Luke.  The original is from Ms. Additional 28815, Folio 76v, British Library, London, England.  The British Library has not yet digitized much of the Additional Ms collection, including No. 28815.  This version is sourced from the Yorck Project, a DVD published in 2002 A.D. as 10,000 Masterworks of Painting.  The entire set of more than 10,000 images can be viewed on line.

Watch the Video of Episode 24.        Listen to the Podcast of Episode 24.

Watch the Video of Episode 25.        Listen to the Podcast of Episode 25.

I have recorded the first two of twenty revised and extended versions focused on the Gospel of St. John, these being episodes twenty-six to forty-five.  Episode Twenty-six and Episode Twenty-seven will be released during the week of October 20th. Episode Twenty-five is focused on a general introduction to the Gospel of St. John and a reading of St. John’s unique Prelude in verses 1-5.  Episode Twenty-seven begins with a discussion of John 1:1-5 and moves on to reading and discussion of John 1:5-18.  Later today I will record the next two episodes which will be released during the week of October 27th.   The slides and script for all remaining episodes have been completed but lack sound tracks and picture-to-sound correlation in iMovie.  The final slide in the series, in Episode Forty-five, will be No. 1560 (vs. No. 885 in the original series).  It has been a great and enjoyable adventure finding and editing the great Christian tradition of spiritually-minded images (vs. the modern representational forms in which the meaning often gets lost in the details and backgrounds).  I hope and pray that viewers find them spiritually enriching and helpful in understanding Scripture.

I have started work on a new series of Podcast Homilies based upon the appointed readings from Psalms and Lessons for Morning Prayer in the 1928 Book of Common Prayer, using the alternative which includes a Gospel reading for the Second Lesson.  These will be linked from the Podcast Homilies page and posted in the order of the Church Calendar beginning with First Sunday in Advent.  I hope to have the four Advent podcasts complete before the start of the new Church Year 2019-2020 on December 1st.

As always, thank you for your interest and support.  May God continue to bless you in all that you do in His Name! Amen!  Glory be to God for all things! Amen!

New Testament: Gospels – Episodes 22 & 23

Episode Twenty-two and Episode Twenty-three in the revised and expanded version of the AIC Bible Study Video series, New Testament: Gospels, were uploaded to the AIC’s YouTube channel and Podbean channel this morning.

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The Incredulity of Thomas.   Icon in tempera and gilt on panel, 14th C. A.D., Monastery of the Metamorphosis, Meteora, Greece.  The icon was lost for centuries and was rediscovered in the early 1960s A.D.  There are several versions of the same scene currently available but with disputes over dates and location.  Some sources claim this version is a later Russian Orthodox copy.    Public Domain.

In order to finish the revisions in the series before year end, I decided to “double up” and complete two each week.  Both of this week’s premiers are about Unique Content in the Gospel of St. Luke, with Episode Twenty-two on Jesus’ discourses on Spiritual Light and the Hypocrisy of the Pharisees and Episode Twenty-three on His moral discourses.  The featured illustration is from the latter episode (in the context of “O You of little faith” Luke 12:28b).

Watch Episode Twenty-two.      Listen to Podcast of Episode Twenty-two

Watch Episode Twenty-three.    Listen to Podcast of Episode Twenty-three

The two remaining episodes on the Gospel of St. Luke will be completed and uploaded during the week of October 14th.

The first two episodes on the Gospel of St. John (Episodes Twenty-six and Twenty-seven) are nearly complete and, barring any technical glitches, should be available for upload during the week of October 21st.  I have completed the revisions of all the remaining slides and scripts in the series and hope to release two episodes per week with a goal of getting the whole series uploaded before Christmas.

As always, thank you for your interest and support.  May God bless you in all that you do in His Name!  Amen.  Glory be to God for all things! Amen!