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The Bible Collection: A Resource Guide from the Rare Book and Special Collections Division

Video Resources

Donald Jackson with contributions from Chris Tomlin. Genesis Frontispiece: Creation. (Genesis 1:1-2:3). Saint John's Bible. Library of Congress Rare Book and Special Collections Division.

Dedicated to public service, the Library of Congress records many of its public lectures to increase the accessibility of the programming. The following selection of lectures pertaining to the Bible is just a small sample of the event videos available through the library of congress catalog. Upcoming events can found on the Library's website. More video content from the Rare Book & Special Collections Division, specifically, can also be found on the Library's website.

The Rare Book and Special Collections Division

One of the treasures of the Rare Book and Special Collections Division is a fine art edition, known as the "Apostle's Edition," of the Saint John's Bible. Only 12 copies of the Apostles Edition were created, one of which is kept at the Vatican Library after being given to Pope Francis upon his address to Congress in 2015.

The Saint John’s Bible contains 1,130 pages and 160 illuminations. It measures two feet tall, and, when open, three feet wide. According to Saint John’s Abbey and University in Collegeville, Minnesota, who commissioned the Bible, it is the first handwritten and illuminated Bible commissioned by a monastery since the invention of the printing press.

Sometimes called "The American Book of Kells," the illuminations in the Saint John's Bible intentionally include modern concepts such as space exploration into the imagery while still harkening back to traditional themes. Scholars and theologians collaborated on the illuminations and worked with a team of artists and illuminators, who worked under the direction of the famous calligrapher Jackson, formerly the senior scribe to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth's Crown Office at the House of Lords in London. Jackson and his illuminators worked out of a studio in Wales in the United Kingdom, and worked closely with the group of scholars in Collegeville, Minnesota.

Exhibition Talk on the Saint John's Bible

Tim Ternes, Director of The Saint John's Bible at the Hill Museum & Manuscript Library, discussed the processes, tools, methods and materials behind the making of the Saint John's Bible.

[Librarian's Room. Detail of stucco reliefs around dome. Library of Congress Thomas Jefferson Building, Washington, D.C.] Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

The Kluge Center

The John W. Kluge Center at the Library of Congress was created to help bridge the gap between scholarship and the policymaking community. The Kluge Center invites into residence top thinkers from around the world to distill wisdom from the rich resources of the Library and to foster mutually enriching relationships with lawmakers and other policy leaders. Scholars present on a wide rage of topics, but the following may be of particular interest to researchers interested in the Bible Collection in the Rare Book and Special Collections Division.

Dilemmas at the Center, Insights from the Margins

In his talk, "Dilemmas at the Center, Insights from the Margins," Mark Noll, holder of the Cary and Ann Maguire Chair in Ethics and American History at the Library's John W. Kluge Center, explained how using the Bible in a political context can present some interesting questions and dilemmas, such as: Does greater use of the Bible encourage religious integrity, or does it make the Bible seem more exclusionary in a religiously pluralistic nation? He also examined some American groups who were very much committed to the Bible and how they used the Bible despite the fact that they did not appear to capture the attention of the mainstream at the time. Finally, Noll attempted to draw some conclusions about the use of the Bible in contemporary and future public life in the United States.

The King James Version of the Bible in American History

Mark Noll, former holder of the Cary and Ann Maguire Chair in Ethics American and History at the Library's John W. Kluge Center, discussed "The King James Version of the Bible in American History." According to Noll, the King James version of the Bible has been ubiquitous in American history as the prime source of language for literature, politics and popular culture, as well as for religion. His lecture sketches the dimensions of that broad presence, while also examining how this version of the Bible has functioned as a force for cohesion and a force for strife.

The Bible in Public Life: A Panel Discussion

A panel of scholars examined the Bible's influence on early American thinkers such as Thomas Paine, 19th-century African-American women, English translators of the text and writers using scriptural quotations in newspaper articles. As part of their discussion, the scholars will also highlight resources found in the archives of the Library of Congress.


  • Lincoln Mullen, Assistant Professor of History and Art History at George Mason University and author of the forthcoming book, "America's Public Bible: Biblical Quotations in U.S. Newspapers."
  • Paul Gutjahr, Ruth Halls Professor of English at Indiana University and editor of the "Oxford Handbook of the Bible in America."
  • Valerie Cooper, Associate Professor of Religion and Society and Black Church Studies at Duke Divinity School and author of "Word, Like Fire: Maria Stewart, the Bible and the Rights of African Americans."
  • Mark Noll, Francis A. McAnaney Professor of History at the University of Notre Dame and author of "In the Beginning Was the Word: The Bible in American Public Life, 1492-1783."
Library of Congress African and Middle Eastern Reading Room. Library of Congress Library of Congress African and Middle Division.

The African and Middle Eastern Division (AMED)

The African and Middle Eastern Division (AMED) at the Library of Congress is a custodial Division with many resources that may be of interest to patrons researching topics related to the Bible Collection in the Rare Book and Special Collections Division. Today, AMED is recognized as a major world resource center for Africa, the Middle East, the Caucasus, and Central Asia. The Hebraic and Near East sections have custody of material in the non-Roman-alphabet languages of the region. Included in these collections are books, periodicals, newspapers, microforms, and rarities including cuneiform tablets, manuscripts, incunabula (works printed before 1501) and other early African and Middle Eastern publications; in 2019, together they number over 650,000 volumes. The Hebraic Section collections contain more than 280,000 volumes in Hebrew and related languages, including Yiddish, Ladino, Syriac, and the languages of Ethiopia. Materials in more than 35 languages are held by the Near East Section, the major holdings of which are Arabic (the largest, with more than 250,000 volumes), Persian, Turkish, Central Asian (in indigenous languages), Armenian, and Georgian.

Author and Artist, Debra Band Interprets and Illustrates the Biblical text.

The Song of Songs is the Hebrew Bible's love song. But who sings this song? While the literal words tell of the passionate love of a man and a woman, the early rabbis understood the verses as an allegory of the love between God and Israel. In her illuminated manuscript, "The Song of Songs: the Honeybee in the Garden," author and artist Debra Band interprets and illustrates the biblical text.