Tuesday, January 12, 2016

The St. John's Bible- The Ten Commandments

The Ten Commandments- 2003
Exodus 20:1-21 NRSV Translation
Thomas Ingmire
Scribe: Donald Jackson
Vellum, with ink, paint and gold
Hill Museum & Manuscript Library, 
Collegeville, MN

The theological brief from the 
Committee on Illuminations and Text
 required the artist to combine five different passages 
from Exodus into a single illumination. The brief also 
suggested that the giving of the Ten commandments 
represented a new creation-the gift 
of law bringing order 
to the chaos of human affairs. This was chosen as 
the principal image around which to group the others.

Depicted along the top of the composition
 are the burning bush,
 the first Passover, the crossing of the Red Sea, 
and the twelve pillars, 
representing the twelve tribes of Israel,
 erected at the foot of Mount Sinai. 
God's words are arrayed across them in gold letters. 
The lower half of the page contains 
the Ten Commandments, 
overlapping and dissolving the colored background.
 Instead of writing the words, the artist stenciled them, 
using the typeface of Stone Sans
 to emphasize the authoritarian nature of God's words.
(from the description of this work at the Biggs Museum)

What I especially liked in this visual translation 
is the thought of the 10 commandments 
bringing order to the chaos of human affairs.
How much our Heavenly Father wants us to live the abundant life.
 Living within the framework of the commandments
 brings His grace to our daily life.

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