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One of the amazing features of the striking new artwork in The Saint John's Bible is the way that so many of its images capture the social concerns of biblical texts in ways that speak to twenty-first-century issues in gripping and prophetic ways. Especially powerful are the ways the artwork in these seven volumes addresses issues related to women, ecology, globalization, violence, poverty, well-being, healing, and redemption. As historic artistic contributions to society in the new millennium, many of its 160 pieces of art thus speak powerfully to contemporary issues in ways that convey timeless truths in timely ways. Tolstoy described the highest value of great art as its religious or spiritual power to speak to the issues of the day, and that being the case, the new artwork in these seven volumes are destined to be classics from the start. In that sense, the social conscience of The Saint John's Bible speaks powerfully, engaging culture with prophetic confrontation and spiritual illumination.


Originally published as chapter nine of The Saint John’s Bible and its Tradition: Illuminating Beauty in the Twenty-First Century. Jack R. Baker, Jeffrey Bilbro, and Daniel Train, editors (Eugene: Pickwick Press, 2018) 136-54.

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