St Petersburg Library
The biblical library project of St Petersburg State University is an initiative of the international Society for New Testament Studies (SNTS), in cooperation with several universities, including Bern (Switzerland), Jena (Germany), and Durham (U.K.).
Founded in 1997, the library now possesses about 18,000 books, journals, and other materials related to the Old and New Testaments, the history of the Bible and its translation, early Israelite history and Jewish literature. Most of the books are written in German and English, but the collection also includes books written in Russian and other languages. Compared with some other libraries, the St. Petersburg library is relatively small. Even so, it is the best library in Russia that is devoted exclusively to biblical studies.
In a country where a sharp rupture with Western scholarship related to religious studies existed for many decades, the St. Petersburg library is a valuable instrument for promoting biblical studies in Russia. Though organized primarily for theological students and more senior scholars, the library is open to everyone. Electronic catalogs arranged by authors and subjects provide easy access to the collection. The catalogs are updated regularly.
Since the library is a non-circulating collection, it is not possible for patrons to borrow books and use them outside the premises. However, working space, computer facilities, and copying machines are available to readers using the library. The library has become an attractive resource for those engaged in biblical studies, and the number of users increases annually.
As part of the Philological Faculty of St. Petersburg State University, the library is located in the historical center of the city on Wassiliewski Island.
Visitors are welcome!
Department of Biblical Studies
The Department of Biblical Studies began offering courses in 2002 as part of the Philological Faculty of St. Petersburg State University. The first such department within the state universities of Russia, it engages in theological teaching and research within a university context — a combination that did not exist earlier in university-level education in Russia. Now that the influential role of religion within social and political spheres is widely recognized, this initiative enjoys widespread support.
Each year about seven students are enrolled in the Biblical Studies Department, which offers a four-year Bachelor’s program as well as a two-year Master’s program.
Instruction is offered in the following subjects:
- Biblical Languages: Hebrew, Greek, Aramaic, Syriac, Church Slavonic, and Latin
- Biblical Studies: Introduction to the Old Testament, Introduction to the New Testament, Textual Criticism and History of the Bible, Biblical Apocrypha, The Bible and Ancient Near Eastern Literature, The Bible in Liturgy, The Bible and the Writings of the Church Fathers, Bible Translation, The Bible in Church Slavonic and Russian, and Introduction to the Talmud
- History: History and Archaeology of Israel, History of the Early Church
Instruction in these courses is provided by two professors and six other specialists in Semitic, Hellenic, and Slavonic Studies, and in Biblical Theology.
“Bibliotheca Biblica Series”, St Petersburg
In 2008 a series of publications related to biblical studies was established under the title “Bibliotheca Biblica Series.” The series is published under the auspices of St. Andrews Biblical Theological Seminary in Moscow.
The series is coordinated and supervised by an internationally recognized editorial board including the following scholars:
- A. A. Alexeev (St. Petersburg)
- W. Beuken (Leuven, Belgium)
- J. D. G. Dunn (Durham, U.K.)
- B. Janowski (Tübingen, Germany)
- J. Ivliev (St. Petersburg)
- C. Karakolis (Athens, Greece)
- M. Konstantinou (Thessalonike, Greece)
- U. Luz (Bern, Switzerland)
- W. Moberly (Durham, U.K.)
- K.-W. Niebuhr (Jena, Germany).
Among the publications envisioned are translations into Russian of important works relating to the Bible and early Judaism. Books are selected for translation that will be useful as textbooks for theological students and that will also appeal to a general readership. Also envisioned is the publication of original works written by scholars related to the Institute.
All of the information related to the library, the Bibliotheca Biblica Series, and the Department of Biblical Studies, including the library catalog, is available in Russian on the website of the Philological Faculty of St Petersburg State University.