(CNN)It’s the world’s best-selling and most widely distributed book, but most modern Bibles, with their dense black-and-white pages and often austere covers, are not normally associated with art.
However, this wasn’t always the case. For centuries, rich, handmade illustrations and intricate calligraphy brought the biblical texts to life.
Some of the most beautiful examples have been brought together in “The Art of the Bible: Illuminated Manuscripts From the Medieval World,” a new book by Scot McKendrick and Kathleen Doyle that highlights 45 examples from the British Library‘s vast collection of Christian manuscripts.
Ultimately, both authors say it’s given them great satisfaction to make the art within the illuminated Bibles they work with every day more widely available and understood.
“I think there is a strong public duty to make this material accessible, to engage people with it and remind them of what is essentially theirs,” McKendrick says.
“The Art of the Bible: Illuminated Manuscripts From the Medieval World” by Scot McKendrick and Kathleen Doyle, published by Thames & Hudson, is available now.