Creativity Amid Chaos.
As a means to stay connected during physical distancing, people across Nebraska are each copying a chapter from the Bible in their own handwriting. The final result will be a “Nebraska Corona Bible,” a powerful testimony to hope and connection in this time of crisis.
Why Copying the Bible?
People have copied holy texts for centuries as a spiritual discipline. In monasteries, monks spent large parts of their days copying sacred scripture, lettering the text, illuminating it with illustrations, and commenting on its meaning. Writers share that writing has had a healing, liberating, centering effect. It connects us across time, and allows us to become part of a community.
In this COVID crisis, new technologies have been extraordinary tools to stay connected. At the same time, they have also heightened a very real “digital divide,” as people in some demographics felt excluded from community which suddenly almost exclusively takes place in an online world.
This is where the ancient tradition of copying the Bible comes in:
Our goal is to copy the whole Christian Bible, using individuals’ handwriting or calligraphy. For each of the 1,189 chapters of the biblical books of the Old and New Testament, we are looking for women and men, youth or children who commit to each copy a chapter. Contributors are also welcome to add a personal commentary and illustrations or artistic interpretations to their passage. Thus, the Bible is re-created in light of our questions and fears, but also our hope and trust as a testimony to this time of crisis.
The New Testament and Psalms will be copied by individuals. The books of the Old Testament will be recorded by groups and larger teams. Together, we’re writing a piece of history in a community effort that stretches across generations, cultures and languages.
Who Can Participate?
Any person living in Nebraska or having a special connection to the Cornhusker State can participate.
You do not have to be a particularly devout or religious person to copy scripture. The only requirement is your openness toward the text and the process of writing, while allowing room for your questions and insights.
Commenting and Illustrating
Copying sacred scripture can be a form of meditation. You may discover that the act of handwriting gives rise to a response. Whatever bubbles up in the process of writing your chapter: your thoughts, questions, or insights, are welcome to be included it this project.
You may want to add a few words of reflection underneath the copied scripture. Please make sure your commentary is short and focused. Another expression could be to illustrate your text or add calligraphy of individual letters. Please do not use thick layers of colors.
- People across Nebraska copy the Bible in their own handwriting.
- Every writer chooses a chapter of a biblical book.
For Individual Writers:
- Each individual selects a chapter from a biblical book (see instructions under “Select a Chapter.”) You can sign up for your preferred chapter using the signup genius links below. If your favorite chapter is already taken, please select another option. Make sure to write down your selection, as you may not be able to verify it later.
- If you have any questions, please do not use the comments section, but contact NebraskaCoronaBible@gmail.com
- If you are not able to select a chapter via signup genius, you can call 402-488-7844. Please leave your name and your number, and we will call you back.
For Groups, Teams, and Congregations:
- The chapters of the books of the Old Testament (not currently listed below) will be copied by congregations, parishes, families, choirs, groups, and other associations who commit to copy a whole biblical book. Team captains are asked to contact NebraskaCoronaBible@gmail.com. We will then send you a signup genius for your group. Please ask your members beforehand how many would like to participate, and mention the (approximate) number of writers in your email.
- You can write in any language you would like. Different languages are explicitly welcome!
- Choose your preferred translation
(e.g. NRSV, NIV, CEB, ESV, the Message…)
- You can copy the text from your personal Bible, or you can find it online. Please see links to different translations below.
- Write on regular white copy & multipurpose paper, letter size (8 1/2” x 11”), 20-24 lb.
- Use both sides, writing single spaced, so that the Bible won’t become too thick.
- Choose your favorite writing utensil. Ballpoint, gel, marker and fountain pens are all good options. Whatever you choose, make sure it doesn’t bleed through the pages.
- Write in portrait orientation, leaving a margin of at least 1″ left and right, and 1/2” on top/bottom. Pencil in your margins (and lines) and erase them later.
- Please write the (English) name of the biblical book and your chapter large and visible at the beginning of your text. You do not need to copy the little numbers (verses). Also, please don’t copy the titles of the paragraphs, as they do not belong to the original text.
- You are welcome to comment on the text. Please write your personal commentary at the bottom of the page.
- You can also illustrate the written text, or use calligraphy to highlight individual letters. Please avoid colors that apply thickly on the paper.
- Please sign your finished chapter with your name. You may also want to add your age, profession and faith community you belong to.
- Make sure you actually mail in your finished chapter so we can bind the Bible in time!
- Please submit the finished chapter by
June 15, 2020
-> extended to November 1st, 2020
- Mail in a 9”x12” manila envelope or in an appropriate sheet protector. DO NOT FOLD OR BEND!
- On the back of your envelope, note the biblical book and chapter.
- Address: – please send your contribution to:
Nebraska Corona Bible
c/o Eastridge Presbyterian Church
1135 Eastridge Drive
Lincoln NE 68510
Bible Translations Online
Select a Chapter (as an Individual)
Click on the link of a biblical book below and sign up for the desired chapter. If you are not able to select a chapter via signup-genius, you can call us at 402-488-7844.
Please write down your selection, as you may not be able to verify it later. If you have any questions, please contact NebraskaCoronaBible@gmail.com
Check out the Step-by-Step instructions above for helpful information.
Update 6/20/2020: The deadline has been extended to November 1st, 2020
October 10th and 17th
The Nebraska Corona Bible project enters its final stretch!
Come join us during one of two scriptorium days to copy some of the remaining chapters.
Scriptorium literally means “a place for writing.” Through the Middle Ages, it generally referred to a room in monasteries set aside to writing, copying, and illuminating manuscripts. Until the invention of the printing press, this was the main place where the Bible and other important writings were copied during hours of holy labor by dedicated scribes. But even in medieval times, all who worked in scriptoria were not monks. Lay scribes and illuminators from outside the monastery always reinforced the clerical scribes.
Now you can experience the work of the scribes yourself! On two Saturdays in October, you can sign up for an hour at a time to copy whatever chapters are still left from our Corona Bible project — and we invite you to do this in a very special environment:
October 10th: St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church
Scriptorium in the Parish Hall and other parts of the building
10am – 4 pm
October 17th: Eastridge Presbyterian Church
Scriptorium in the Sanctuary, 10am – 4pm
(Live organ music from 10-11am will be provided by Brent Shaw!)
Individual writing desks will be spread out to ensure proper physical distancing. Participation is limited to 10 writers per hour.
Adopt a Biblical Book (as a Group)
The chapters of the books of the Old Testament will be adopted by congregations, parishes, families, choirs, groups, and other associations who divide up the chapters among their members.
Team captains are asked to contact NebraskaCoronaBible@gmail.com
Please indicate the name of your group and the approximate number of participants. We will get back to you with a suggested biblical book.
This project is inspired by the St. Gallen Coronabibel, a similar project in northeastern Switzerland. We are grateful to the initiator, Uwe Habenicht, for permission to adapt this idea to our Nebraska context.