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Fr. Eugen J. Pentiuc: Main Contributor to the B.E.S.T. Digital Study Bible

Fr. Eugen J. Pentiuc, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Professor of Old Testament and Semitic Languages, was invited by École biblique et archéologique française to spend six weeks in Jerusalem (July-August, 2015) to complete his work for the B.E.S.T. (acronym for La Bible en ses traditions / The Bible in Its Traditions). His contribution, “The Book of Hosea: A New Translation with Notes,” once finished, will be published along with other contributions thus far completed by additional scholars as the very first achievements of this ongoing digital Study Bible project.

The rigorous template designed by the B.E.S.T.’s steering committee and followed by the contributors in their work aims to condense two thousand years of scriptural interpretation. The B.E.S.T. provides the modern reader with a new Scripture translation based on the Septuagint, Masoretic Text, Peshitta, and Vulgate, accompanied by a wide array of study notes divided into three sections (text, context, and reception) and covering various interpretive aspects, from textual, lexical, and literary notes to Jewish and Christian (patristic and liturgical) commentaries and theological treatises, reaching as far as modern and secular forms of scriptural usage (e.g., literature, visual arts, music, dance, cinema, etc.).

Fr. Eugen J. Pentiuc, Fr. Olivier-Thomas Venard, OP, Project Director, and Fr. Kevin Stephens, OP, Programmer in the working place of the B.E.S.T. project.

Fr. Pentiuc has been using the B.E.S.T. template as a pedagogical tool in his class “Scriptural Preaching,” assisting students in their ongoing challenge to bridge rigorous exegetical work to lively preaching and teaching.

B.E.S.T. is the first digital, online Study Bible produced by the same school that created the well-known Study Bible, La Bible de Jerusalem (1956), known also as The New Jerusalem Bible. The contributors are working on a digital platform programmed by Fr. Kevin Stephens, OP. For more information on B.E.S.T. project, please visit www.bibest.org.

"We are thrilled having Fr. Pentiuc as the main contributor to our Bible project, on the book of Hosea,” stated Fr. Olivier-Thomas Venard, OP, Vice-Director of the École biblique and B.E.S.T. Project Director. “His multifaceted scholarly expertise, especially his highly recognized philological skills, his interpretive insights, both based on fresh textual criticism and anchored in patristic and liturgical tradition, and his enthusiasm, are commendable.  His presence among us and our collaboration provide us with one more opportunity to appeal to our Orthodox scholar-brothers, inheritors of such a rich hermeneutical and theological tradition, to join us in retrieving the Bible as it has been read for two thousand years, while we are passing it on to the digital era." 

Dr. James Skedros, Dean of Holy Cross, noted the important role scholarship plays in the theological enterprise: “Our school’s priority for its faculty focuses on excellence in teaching, scholarship, and service. Through projects such as the one in which Fr. Eugen is involved, Holy Cross is advancing its research profile, which ultimately has a significant impact on pedagogy. We commend Fr. Pentiuc for his continuous efforts in wedding scholarship to teaching and serving our institution in this way. His participation in this global project shows one more time the openness of our school and tradition to dialogue with other traditions and institutions of high learning.”

École biblique et archéologique française is located on the ruins of a building complex excavated by the Dominican brothers in 1891-1894, and later identified with the church of St. Stephen, built in the fifth century by empress Eudokia outside “St. Stephen’s Gate,” today known as “Damascus Gate.” Excavations exposed vast sections of the original mosaic floor. Soon after 1894, the Dominican brothers built a new church, replicating the exact structure and size of the original basilica by following the walls and the floor mosaics. 

The School is the oldest center of biblical and archaeological research in the Holy Land. It was founded in 1890 by Father Marie-Joseph Lagrange. The school is the world-renowned premier biblical school that combines written documents, archeological artifacts, and patristic interpretive tradition aiming at a holistic understanding of the Word of God.