Of the three elements of modern civilization law is recognized as being unquestionably identified with Rome, literature with Athens, and religion with Palestine. In active pursuance of the conviction that actual research from original sources is one of the best methods of attaining the greatest knowledge of the beginnings and development of civilization, American schools for study and research have already been successfully established and maintained in Rome and Athens.
To supply a long felt want the Society of Biblical Literature and Exegesis originated in 1895 a plan of establishing a similar school in Palestine. Palestine was for centuries the thoroughfare between the far East and Europe, and buried in her soil therefore are undoubtedly inscriptions, monuments and relics which will throw immense light upon the literary, artistic and archaeological history of both East and West. The plan therefore has received the hearty approval of the American Oriental Society in a vote from which the following is an extract:
"The Oriental Society cannot express too warmly its approval of this enterprise, believing that the existence of such a school would give a new impulse to Biblical and Oriental scholarship."
It has recently become affiliated with the Archaeological Institute of America upon conditions similar to those regulating the relations to the institute of the school at Athens and that at Rome.
For the immediate establishment and successful maintenance of the school a fund of at least $100,000 is necessary. This will cover the erection and equipment of a suitable building, the purchase of a library, the salary of a resident director, and the prosecution of vacation tours of exploration and research. It is also hoped that a fund for fellowships yielding at least $500 each a year may be secured.
In order that the institution may go into effective operation by next October, Professor J.H. Thayer, of the Divinity School, chairman of the committee on its establishment, has been soliciting subscriptions to supplement those recorded below: From the Archaeological Institute, an annual subsidy of $500. From each of the following institutions $100 a year for five years: Auburn Theological Seminary, Boston University, Bryn Mawr, Cincinnati Univ., Colgate Univ., the Episcopal Theological School of Cambridge, the Episcopal Theological School of Philadelphia, the General Theological Seminary of New York, Harvard University, Pennsylvania Univ., Princeton Theological Seminary, Trinity College, Union Theological Seminary of New York, and Yale University. The gifts of money on deposit have already reached $1000, and it is estimated that with at least $4000 more the school may go at once into operation on a firm footing.