When I was in Minneapolis last weekend, I went to the Art Institute & saw a special exhibit of this new Illustrated Bible which is being produced by a team of calligraphers in Wales, under the sponsorship of St. John's Univ. (in Collegeville MN). It's a very unusual project combining computer imagery with medieval book-production techniques (calfskin parchment, handmade inks, goose quills...). The pages are huge & the illustrations are beautiful.

On the very first page of Genesis, there is a scribal mistake. It's the only one visible in the entire exhibit. A phrase about God's creation of the "sea-monsters of the deep" was left out; the scribes added it in an elegant parenthesis in the margin.

I jumped when I saw that - was reminded of Viola Sach's monograph on Moby Dick(Game of Creation) : in which she develops a model of the novel's composition based on a sort of gnostic-numerological design of cosmic error (the substance & manifestation of which is "the whale" itself). According to Sachs, Moby Dick, Melville's "counter-Bible", is a labyrinth of intentional mistakes & misplaced attributions about whales & other matters.

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