Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land - 06/03/2000 info:

Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land
Studium Biblicum Franciscanum

The STUDIUM BIBLICUM FRANCISCANUM (SBF) is the Biblical Branch of the Theological Faculty of the "Pontificium Athenaeum Antonianum" in Rome. In its program, courses are offered on two levels. Its faculty also is responsible for the courses of theological formation at the "Studium Theologicum Jerosolymitanum" in the Franciscan Monastery of St. Saviour.


The restoration and the rebuilding of the sanctuaries owned by the Custody of the Holy Land during the last century resulted in the archaeological exploration of the sites and their occupational history. A scientific work which was entrusted to the archaeologists of the Studium Biblicum Franciscanum which was planned out by the Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land in 1901, and has been in operation since 1924. As a scientific institution, the Studium Biblicum Franciscanum is closely related to the history of the Franciscan presence in the Holy Land. It was officially founded as a continuation of the work done by the Franciscan Fathers during the previous centuries. The Studium Biblicum Franciscanum is today a Roman Catholic Faculty of biblical and archaeological studies in the Holy Land sponsored by the Franciscan Custody of Terrasanta. It is located in the Old City of Jerusalem, in the Flagellation monastery at the IInd Station of the Via Dolorosa.

Research Center

As a research center, the SBF has been actively involved in rediscovering the sacred sites of the NT and early Christianity. Thus it expands and updates the histories of various Christian shrines. There is a special focus on the primitive Church in the Holy Land by making use of Jewish and Christian literary sources as well as the diaries and travel journals of pilgrims down trough the centuries. Importance is given to biblical research from the exegetical, theological, linguistic and environmental viewpoints. The SBF has been involved in Archaeological excavations in various areas of th Holy Land: Bethany, Bethlehem (Church of the Nativity and Shepherd's Field), Beth-phage, Cana, Capharnaum, Ein Karem, Emmaus (el-Qubeibeh), Jerusalem (Ascension, Dominus Flevit, Gethsemane, Holy Sepulchre, Tomb of Mary), Herodion, Machaerus, Magdala, Nazareth, Nebo, Tabgha and Tabor. Reports on the excavations are published annually in the review Liber Annuus, and in the Collectio Maior and Collectio Minor series; biblical and patristic studies are published in the Analecta series; collections of the museum are illustrated in the Museum series.

Academic Center

As an academic center, the SBF confers the pontifical academic degrees of Licentiate/Master's (2 years) and Doctorate (2 additional years) in Biblical Theology. It also offers a higher Diploma in Oriental Biblical Studies (1 year) and a Diploma of Biblical Formation (1 year). Finally, courses of biblical and archaeological updating are organized for Holy Land guides. In its academic activities, the SBF puts particular emphasis on the student's in-depth, direct, personal and prolonged contact of the student with the oriental biblical world.

Professors and Academic Program

The personnel of the SBF presently consists of 15 professors. The courses of instruction comprise: biblical and oriental languages (Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek, Akkadian, Syriac, Arabic), introductory courses, methodology, Scripture exegesis and biblical theology, history of exegesis, biblical history and geography, topography of Jerusalem, biblical and paleochristian archaeology. The program also includes seminars and field trips to biblical and Christian places of the Holy Land, Jordan, Egypt and Sinai.


The SBF is open to all - priests, religious and laity - who have adequate preparation. There are three categories of students: 1) Ordinary students: those who pursue an academic degree or diploma. 2) Extraordinary students: those who are seeking some credits without pursuing any of the academic degrees or diplomas. 3) Auditors: those who attend some courses without taking the examinations. The Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land offers about 20 academic scholarships to priests who enroll in the SBF as "ordinary students". Students with a particular inclination for archaeology sometimes can participate in the archaeological excavations of the SBF.


An outstanding Museum is attached to the SBF. It was founded in 1902 and in it the more significant finds of the excavations of the SBF are on display. Designed for the use of students and pilgrims there are rooms illustrating the excavations of Nazareth, Capharnaum and "Dominus Flevit", the fortresses of Herodion and Machaerus, the monasteries of the Judean Desert and of Mount Nebo. Some excavations shed light on the origins of Christianity, especially on Judeo-Christian communities of the Holy Land. Also worthy of mention are the numismatic collections of the cities of Palestine (Judea, Samaria, Galilee) and Transjordan (Decapolis, Province of Arabia) and a complete collection of pots (XVII-XIX cent., School of Savona) from the ancient pharmacy of St. Saviour Monastery.


The SBF keeps a specialized library of about 30,000 volumes and 390 journals. The main sections are: archaeology, biblical studies, patristics, ancient Judaism, the ancient Near East and ancient itineraries of the Holy Land. It is open to the public from 9 a.m. to 12 noon.


Liber Annuus; Collectio Maior; Collectio Minor; Analecta; Museum. The publications of the SBF are sponsored by the Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land and published by the Franciscan Printing Press - Jerusalem.

Created / Updated Monday, March 06, 2000 at 22:18:31