The Dominican friars and members of the École Biblique et Archéologique Française de Jérusalem pay tribute to the memory of Brother Étienne Nodet, OP, who died on February 4, 2024 in Jerusalem.

Born in 1944 in Bourg-en-Bresse, the birthplace of Father Lagrange, his entry into the Dominican Order in 1967, and his arrival at the École Biblique in 1977, seemed an obvious choice. A polytechnician with a master’s degree in philosophy and theology and a BA in Talmud, Brother Étienne was a brilliant polymath.

During his novitiate in Lyon, he discovered biblical exegesis, which he left to study in depth at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in 1974. He joined the House of Isaiah of the Dominican Province of France, west of the city. There, he studied Israeli society and developed a passion for the history of ancient Judaism. Étienne tackled his major work: translating, contextualizing, explaining and annotating the Jewish Antiquities of Flavius Josephus. Inspired by rabbinic literature, he was one of the first to reinvent the way the Bible was edited, convinced of the richness of a comparative reading of the different biblical sources and their reception. Today, this intuition inspires La Bible en Ses Traditions research program. A disconcerting and provocative spirit, he never refrains from exploring new paths, from the Samaritans to the Essenes, via a new translation of the Bible. Workaholic and extremely rigorous, Étienne is remembered by all as an original and passionate man.

When he arrived at Ébaf, he was put in charge of topographical surveys and criss-crossed the country in his Jeep, driving through desert and abandoned tracks to discover archaeological and biblical sites. A visionary in many respects, he was the first at Ébaf to use a laptop computer to prototype a new keyboard containing every conceivable variety of symbol, enabling students and researchers to write in ancient Greek!

“I read Scripture in faith”, Stephen told his community. A historical-critical exegete, he lived to the end the tension between the aridity of reason and his witness to a “living God”. Through his commitment as a brother preacher with the Neocatechumenal Way and his work with the Ratisbonne Institute, he bore witness to his profound humanity.

The Convent of Saint-Étienne and the École Biblique et Archéologique Française pay tribute to Étienne Nodet, a free spirit, demanding and full of humor. He devoted all his time and energy to living the Word of God and passing it on to generations of students. His sudden death leaves a huge void in the world of research.

Interview by Emeline d’Hautefeuille, Communications Officer
Article photos: Ébaf, Ordo Praedicatorum
Header photo: Ébaf photo library