On March 6th, a delegation from the École Biblique of Jerusalem was received at the Institut de France by the Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres (AIBL) as part of the celebration of the centenary of the École’s recognition as an École archéologique française. The theme of the day was “The Taste of the Orient” (originaly, in French : « Le goût de l’Orient »). The morning colloquium gave way to the Academy’s weekly session in the afternoon.
The day was introduced by Michel Zink, Permanent Secretary of the AIBL, Fr. Jean Jacques Pérennès OP, Director of EBAF, and Mrs. Odile Flichy, Vice-President of the Association of Friends of EBAF.
Mr. Dominique Trimbur, a researcher associated with the CRFJ, then presented the historical context of the creation and institutional recognition of the École biblique of Jerusalem as an École archéologique française in 1920, at the beginning of the British Mandate on Palestine.
A round-table discussion, moderated by Ms. Estelle Villeneuve, archaeologist from the Université de Nanterre, then brought together six former students of the EBAF, scholarship holders of the Academy: Ms. Claire Balandier, archaeologist, Mr. Philippe Abrahami, assyriologist, Mr. Guillaume Bady, patrologist, Mr. Kevin Tréhuedic, historian, Mr Matthieu Richelle, epigraphist, and Ms. Mathilde Boudier, doctoral student in medieval history. Each in turn presented the intellectual, human, and spiritual benefits that he or she derived from their time at the EBAF. The speakers particularly underscored both the richness of these years spent in contact with the land of the Bible and the Dominicans of Jerusalem and the intellectual and human mark that this left and which still bears them today.
Mr. Michael Langlois, a researcher associated with the CRFJ and an auxiliary of the Académie, closed this morning with a talk that underlined the link between Orientalism and biblical studies since the foundation of the École Biblique.
In the afternoon, Fr. Jean-Baptiste Humbert OP, archaeologist, professor emeritus at the EBAF and associate member of the AIBL, presented “some reflections on a century of collaboration”, before giving way to Fr. Jean Jacques Pérennès OP, whose talk was entitled, “The Biblical School in 2020: from the intuitions of Lagrange to the challenges of today” (originaly, in French : « L’École biblique en 2020 : des intuitions de Lagrange aux défis d’aujourd’hui »). Times have changed since its founding, but the EBAF remains convinced, like Lagrange, of the importance of studying the Bible in the land of the Bible. But it does so today in partnership with many universities and research centres throughout the world—and it is enriched by this collaboration. This is bearing fruit despite the vagaries of history, which, as in Lagrange’s time, sometimes fluctuate greatly.
The day ended with a presentation of Mélanges d’assyriologie to Fr. Marcel Sigrist OP, in homage to his scientific work and as a sign of gratitude for his selfless dedication to the service of the School for four decades.
Throughout the day, esteem and cordiality were palpable between the Dominicans of Jerusalem and the scholars who make up the Academy, as well as its former scholarship holders — a centenary celebration that had a taste of the future.
To read La Croix‘s article, click here.
To view the interview with Fr. Jean Jacques Pérennès OP in the KTO TV programme “À la source”, click here.