Faculty of Biblical Sciences and Archaeology Set Up in Jerusalem

Proposed by Friars Minor and Approved by Holy See

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JERUSALEM, SEPT. 17, 2001 (Zenit.org).- The Vatican Congregation for Catholic Education has published a decree establishing the «Studium Biblicum Franciscanum» of Jerusalem as a faculty of biblical sciences and archaeology.

The new faculty, which is under the Pontificium Athenaeum Antonianum in Rome, can confer a baccalaureate in theology as well as a licentiate and doctorate in biblical sciences and archaeology, according to Vidimus Dominum, the news service of religious communities in Rome.

The decree, published Sept. 4, was in response to a 1999 request to the Holy See, according to the minister general of the Friars Minor, Father Giacomo Bini.

In a letter sent to the entire order, Father Bini noted that archaeological research always has been a characteristic of the Friars Minor´s commitment in the Holy Land.

With the professors of the Studium, he stated, the order will be able to help believers to deepen their knowledge of Christ and of the first Christian communities.

Moreover, dialogue with Jewish religious will also be able to be considered on a «scientific basis,» the minister general emphasized.

The idea of the Studium Biblicum Franciscanum was born in Jerusalem in 1901, in the Custody of the Holy Land. The Studium has the double role of research and teaching.

Its academic courses begin in 1923-1924 at the Convent of the Custody of the Holy Land, known as the Flagellation Monastery, on the Via Dolorosa.

In 1927, the Studium was recognized as an integral part of St. Anthony´s College of Rome and in 1933 as part of the Pontificium Athenaeum Antonianum. In 1960, it was promoted as the biblical branch of the athenaeum.

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