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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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!