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[BKARTS] The illuminated Gospels are almost done



For the past 4 years I have been making by hand an  illuminated manuscript of 
the Gospels. I started the Bible back in 1987,  but after 9-11 when 4 of my 
friends died, I decided to make a great book, like  the Book of Kells, 
something that would knock your socks off! 
    To date I have 304 illuminated pages with a total  of 550 pages and most 
of the non illumianted pages are decorated and each  chapter contains a 
different historical manuscript style.  I do not use  computers, this was done the 
old fashioned way, hence why it took 4 years. For  those of you who are fans of 
the Saint John's bible they only have 26  illuminations in their 136 pages 
for their Gospels and Acts, 160 illuminations  in total for their entire Bible 
and they are not the first in 500 years, neither  am I.
    Currently I am finishing off the last chapter of  the Gospel of Saint 
Luke, I just put a Ford GT on the Road to Emmaus. Drawing a  Pan Am Clipper right 
now. I have a few verse initials to complete and I will be  done.
    Whereas the Book of Kells and the Saint John's  Bible starts off each 
book with a full page carpet page, I decided to do that in  about half of the 
chapters of the Gospels.  The idea being that I have  already done the one format 
Bible Book, I completed my New Testament in 1995 and  so I decided to mix it 
up a bit and to try to encompass the entire history of  manuscript 
illumination in this set of Gospels.  That is why I have 304  pages of illuminations.
    Luke is an insular Celtic manuscript like the Book  of Kells, while John 
is mostly French manuscript styles.  Matthew is a  collection of English 
styles and Mark gets into more modern work, including the  Art Nouveaux movement, 
and the more modern scripts found in illuminated  manuscripts of bibles and 
prayer books made in the late 1800's and early 20th  century.  I jsut saw an 
exhibition of Miro's and Marc Chagall's  bibles.  Almost every chapter of Luke 
contains a full page carpet page in  the Celtic design.  The illuminations are my 
own work, I am not copying  previous works. The art of manuscript 
illumination is continuous, the art  is not lost, people have been making Bibles by hand 
almost 2000 years, despite  what that monastery says.
 
    John Chapters 18 and 19 are an interlinear  Polyglot.  I translated the 
Complutensian Polyglot of Accala Spain made  between 1514 -1517 which contains 
the Greek and the Latin and then I placed the  texts interlinear with the 
English. I lined up the texts so that you can see how  the text was translated.  
And in the course of researching all this I came  up with a concordance from 
the Greek and the Latin of Old Testament references  which are below the text. 
 
    Most of the verse initials of Luke are inhabited  initials, this 
encompasses hundreds of drawings.  The calligraphy styles  represent the entire 
history of manuscript illumination.  I made this by  studying the manuscripts and 
learning how they made their letterforms. Each  chapter is written in one script 
so I am interested in learning how to make  fonts out of these handwriting 
styles.  If anyone can give me advice on  that, that would be helpful!  There 
should be enough material in each  chapter to scan the ligatures and the 
combinations.  The scripts  span the entire history of the Bible from ancient papyri 
to the Codex  Siniaticus, to the Lindisfarne Gospels, to the Bibles of 
Charlemagne, the Norman  bibles, the French scripts found in books of hours, all the 
way up to the  Gutenberg typefaces, and the scripts of more modern 
manuscripts.  Its all  there, and I learned how to do it by myself.
 
    I have scanned the manuscript and I got advice on  that from the Getty 
and the Met. The imaging of an illuminated manuscript is  tricky because of the 
reflections.
 
    The Bible was placed on display at the Biblical  Arts Museum in Dallas, 
Texas in March and April of this year.  Here are  news articles including a 
video from WFAA TV, I was their Easter Story.  It  shows me writing the text.
 
 
    *   WFAA TV ran this Easter 2005 video showing me  writing the Bible at 
my Exhibition at the Center for Biblical Arts in  Dallas, the Biblical Arts 
Museum  in March and April 2005. 
_http://www.wfaa.com/perl/common/video/wmPlayer.pl?title=www.wfaa.com/pronk/050328_1200biblewriter_wz.wmv_ 
(http://www.wfaa.com/perl/common/video/wmPlayer.pl?title=www.wfaa.com/pronk/050328_1200biblewriter
_wz.wmv) 
    *   “An Epic Undertaking” The  Dallas Morning News, March 15, 2005. 
_http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/news/city/parkcities/stories/031605dnp
arpepper.99f18.html_ 
(http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/news/city/parkcities/stories/031605dnparpepper.99f18.html) 
    *   “Hand Lettering of Bible proves illuminating”  The Dallas Morning 
News, March 14,  2001.  This article interviews the director of the Saint John's 
Bible  project in 2001 comparing the Bibles.  
_http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/dn/religion/stories/122904_religionlookback_illuminatedbible.59cd
1e6d.html_ 
(http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/dn/religion/stories/122904_religionlookback_illuminatedbible.59cd1e6d.html) 
    *   “James Pepper: Still toiling, now with pope’s  blessing” Dallas 
Morning News December 31, 2004 
_http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/dn/religion/stories/010105dnrel9.648a4cb3.html_ 
(http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/dn/religion/stories/010105dnrel9.648a4cb3.html) 
These links can be found on my website which is  best found by doing a Google 
of “The Pepper Bible.” 
_http://www.hometown.aol.com/biblescribe1/biblescribe1/index.htm_ (http://www.hometown.aol.com/biblescribe1/biblescribe1/index.htm) 
 
    I have blessings from the Pope John Paul II and the  Archbishop of York 
and the Archbishop of Canterbury sent a Bible to correct my  New Testament in 
1997.
 
Sincerely,
 
James G. Pepper
Antiquarius Domini  

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