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Is nothing sacred? Trinity College scraps Bible from its crest

New college shield part of €100,000 image revamp

The Bible on the Trinity crest, closed with clasps, is an image that dates back to the college’s founding in 1592.
Under a branding initiative, the Bible will be replaced with “an open book” to create a “forward-facing image”.


The winds of change at Trinity College Dublin have not only swept in a new name for the university in official communications, but have blown religious symbolism out of the college’s ancient crest.

Under a controversial €100,000 branding initiative, agreed at board level this week, Trinity is removing the Bible from the crest and replacing it with “an open book” in what it describes as a “deliberate and symbolic” change.

The college had previously told staff and students it would retain the Bible, along with other symbols on the shield: the lion, castle and harp.

However, in a memo accepted by the board, the college recommended that the Bible, closed with clasps – an image that harks back to the college’s founding in 1592 as the College of the Holy and Undivided Trinity of Queen Elizabeth – be replaced by an open book, “to signify our tradition of scholarship which should be accessible to all”.

The aim was to create a more “forward-facing” image, along with the institution’s planned new brand name, Trinity College, the University of Dublin, which is to be used instead of TCD in all areas except academic publications.

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