The Studium Biblicum Franciscanum, established by the Custody of the Holy Land as far back as 1901 and functioning as an academic institution since 1924, began its publication activity in 1941.
As a research center, the Studium Biblicum Franciscanum from its very beginning acquired a notable reputation for its activity in the field of archaeological exploration on biblical sites in the Holy Land. This activity has especially been oriented toward the early Judaeo-Christian Church and the Christian-Byzantine period through scientific examination of literary sources as well as excavations. Bethlehem, Capharnaum, Nazareth, Herodion, Machaerus, Mount Nebo are just some of the important sites investigated, studied and published. The list goes on and on. The names of Franciscan Fathers Orfali, Saller, Bagatti and Corbo are identified with the outstanding vitality of the SBF during its long span of years.
The library at the SBF
To be sure their hard work of research has been carried on almost without interruption up to our own time. And now, the excavations underway in Transjordan (Mount Nebo, Madaba, Umm er-Rasas etc.) with their results are adding to our tradition which promises to be richer still.
This vast and prolific research activity has been regularly expressed by the publication of a large number of volumes in the domain of archaeology, exegesis and linguistics.
At the present time the publication activity of the SBF appears in four series plus an annual. They are: Collectio Maior, Collectio Minor, Analecta, Museum and Liber Annuus.
The Collectio Maior contains articles with definitive reports on archaeological excavations, historical-archaeological monographs, and miscellaneous works on biblical, patristic and archaeological studies.
The Collectio Minor is a collection of titles which study archaeological excavations, monuments and texts of early Christianity in the Middle East.
The Analecta is a series of research studies in the field of exegesis and patristics and also texts for studying biblical languages.
The Museum series includes monographs and studies concerning the collections and displays which are of special interest and are kept in the Museum of the SBF.
The Liber Annuus (an annual of about 500 pages) publishes biblical, linguistic and archaeological studies. It also includes preliminary reports on the excavations conducted by the professors of the SBF and their coworkers from other scholarly institutions of Israel and elsewhere.