The St. John's bible-
the Joshua Anthology
Joshua 1-24 NRSV
Scribe: Susan Leiper
Vellum with ink, paint and gold
"As Moses reaches the end of his life,
the Lord commissions Joshua,
Son of Nun to be be Moses' successor
and to lead the next generation of Israelites
on a journey to the Promised Land.
The Book of Joshua chronicles the battles,
deaths and mayhem of violence
of that journey which initially began in Egypt.
The Joshua anthology, there first major illumination
in Historical Books from The Saint John's Bible,
focuses on the crossing of the children of Israel
into the Promised Land.
In this Illumination, Donal Jackson sets up a number
of visual design elements which reprise throughout
the work and tie the threat of the volume together.
An Egyptian border motif taken from a wall painting
in the Valley of the Queens is seen cropping
into the margins of the anthology page,
and the addition of a bronze bull and scarab beetle
continue the Egyptian references.
The Children of Israel, after having fought their way
to the Promised Land following so many years
of Egyptian bondage,
are still seduced by the pull of the plytheistic images,
and magical rituals of their Egyptians masters.
Death, violence, and conflagration are present
in the flames and the headless bodies floating
down the river; the price of slaughter
is paid by both sides of a conflict.
Despite this destruction, there is still hope;
strong and stable arches rise in the center
symbolizing the Ark of the Covenant
carried across the river and throughout the land.
The Law of Moses, in the form of fragments from
Thomas Ingmire's illumination
of theTen Commandments,
is jostled across the Jordan, through the ruined city,
between the hills and into the Promised land.
Slender batons of gold, active and present
throughout the illumination
carry out the theme of God's constant presence
reminding all to
"Put away the gods that your ancestors served
beyond the River and in Egypt,
and serve the Lord."
(the display notes at the Biggs Museum)
Thinking about what gods we serve today
in our own lives-
the influence of culture and who really masters us?