Following in the footsteps of medieval scribes centuries before him, Phillip Patterson of upstate New York completed an enormous task: he copied the entirety of the Bible by hand. Patterson, 63, began the project in 2007 and spent up to 14 hours per day writing passages.
The retired interior designer completed the final words of his manuscript last weekend in front of a crowd at his local church, St. Peter’s Presbyterian in Spencertown, New York. After finishing, he said “Amen.” He plans to spend the next year binding his 2,400 page manuscript before he will donate it to the same church.
Patterson said that he commenced work on the project to learn more about the Bible, rather than as a spiritual exercise, but that the act of copying the Bible taught him to be more loving, confident, and patient. He began the project while living at a retirement home in 2007 where he felt most of the other residents just spent their days watching television. Curious about the Bible, and seeking a meaningful diversion he could maintain in the face of deteriorating health, Patterson started copying out the King James Bible by hand.
The multi-year project was slowed by Patterson’s health, which has been compromised by AIDS since 1985. Patterson was still able, however, to log lengthy days copying passages. He often spent more than 10 hours per day with a Pigma Micron pen in hand, slowly filling blank pages with the text of one of the foundational books of Western civilization.
[Illustration of scribe from Wikipedia]