Ecole Biblique et Archeologique Française

The Ecole Biblique et Archeologique Française (EBAF) was founded in 1890 by religious friars of the St Stephen’s convent led by Father Marie-Joseph Lagrange in Palestine. In addition to its primary mission in the field of biblical studies and archeology, the EBAF extends its scope to related disciplines such as history and geography of the Near East, ‘oriental’ languages, and connected documentation activities. It holds an archive of 19th century photography, with many of the collections having direct relevance to the school’s archaeological pedagogy. The original holdings relate mainly to the fieldtrips carried out by the school in the broader Near-East region. It comprises around 18,000 glass plates in various sizes, of which two-thirds are negatives, and the rest mostly positive duplicates. These include stereoscopic views and rare autochromes. There are few prints from the glass plate negatives, although contact sheets exist for half the collection, which also includes albumen prints from pre-1914 commercial collections such as Bonfils. The original holdings were enriched by three deposits: 1,600 glass plates from the French Assumptionist fathers dating back to 1896 and donated by the Notre-Dame Center of Jerusalem; 700 medium-format contact prints from a Spanish Dominican priest dating back to his time as a student at the school in 1929-31; 550 stereoscopic negatives dating from 1908-1909; and more recently, 2,200 scans from the White Fathers (Pères-Blancs) of Saint-Anne Monastery in the Old City of Jerusalem, including scans of 705 glass plates; 1,700 scans from the Jesuits of the Biblical Pontifical Institute, Jerusalem; and around 350 scans from the Italian Salesians from Beit Jimal (Palestine). The contemporary holdings from the last 30 years contain thousands of film negatives in 35mm or medium format, as well as colour slides. These come mainly from the archeological surveys carried out by the school, and the trend has been to document endangered archeological and historical sites. EBAF’s holdings are fully catalogued and accessible to researchers on appointment. The collection has been fully scanned, and there are plans for an online database. There are also cooperation arrangements in place with other churches in Jerusalem to help digitize their collections. The EBAF collection has been the subject of many exhibitions in the region and in Europe, as well as several books: Distant Jerusalem, Holy City; Photographies d’Arabie: Hedjaz 1907-1917; Al-Quds al-Sharif, Patrimoine musulman de la Vieille Ville de Jérusalem: Photographies 1890-1925; Souvenirs d’Orient; Jerusalem: A Principios Del Siglo XX, Patrimonio y Cultura; Pilgrims to Makkah 1908; Itineraires Bibliques; The Empire and the Kingdom: Jordan as seen by the École biblique et archéologique francaise de Jérusalem (1893-1935); Jérusalem et la Palestine à travers la collection photographique de l’Ecole biblique de Jérusalem (directed by Elias Sanbar, ed. Hazan, Paris, 2013). More recent exhibitions, with printed catalogues, include: Chateaubriand, itinéraire de Paris à Jérusalem à travers les photographies de l’Ecole biblique de Jérusalem (Paris, 2013); Chrétiens d’Orient (Paris, 2014); Gerusalemme fotografata. Immagini d’all’archivio dell’Ecole biblique et archéologique française di Gerusalemme 1870-1935 (Lugano, Museo Cantonale d’Arte, 2014).

Contact Details

  • Name: Père Jean-Michel de Tarragon
  • Email:
  • Address: 6 Nablus Rd., East Jerusalem
  • Tel: +972 2 626 44 68
  • Website:;

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