December 1, 2009.
On one of Rome’s quieter, less travelled streets the world’s only institution dedicated solely to Biblical studies houses over 200,000 volumes. It was founded by Pius X 100 years ago.Jose Maria Abrego
Rector, Pontifical Biblical Institute“One hundred years for an academic institution is nothing. But it does allow it to claim a certain experience and try to look toward the future and toward the service it can develop in the future with a base.”
Jose Maria Abrego sat in these classrooms 40 years ago as a young student. Today he is the rector of the institute.
Among the hundreds of thousands of books in the institution’s library, students can find priceless reading material dating back centuries. Like this Bible from the 16th century written in Latin and Hebrew.
Religious and laypeople alike come to the institute from all over the world. By the end of their time here, which is usually three rigorous years of study, they will have been fluent in Latin, Greek, Hebrew and or Aramaic.
These languages only make up the base necessary to understand the meaning of the Bible. Students have to know the history and culture behind it as well.
Jose Maria Abrego
Rector, Pontifical Biblical Institute“It’s not just about reading the Bible. It’s about enjoying it and coming back to it. I think the Bible is the base for the communication of faith and the base for theological and religious thought.”
The institute has quite a reputation. Of the 200 people who participated in the synod of the word of God in 2008, for example, 80 were alumni of the institute.
The pope celebrated the institute’s 100 years with Abrego and his students in a private audience.
Jose Maria Abrego
Rector, Pontifical Biblical Institute“He thanked the institute for the service it provides, because after all, it’s the only one. He encouraged us to look toward the future.”
Abrego’s hope for the future is that, like him, the students that come through the Pontifical Biblical Institute for the next 100 years take their knowledge to their communities and to the world.