The BNU's collections on religious sciences have been built up on the basis not only of purchases but also gifts of works and university and other academic publications, successive deposits (professors' libraries, works from the Foundation of the Chapter of St Thomas, the Franciscan collection, etc.) as well as regular acquisitions. In 1920 there were about 180 000 volumes for this field. The collections are currently estimated at 400 000 volumes.

Ordinary acquisitions

The BNU's specialist centre on religious sciences currently focuses on:

  • its activity as a centre for the acquisition and circulation of scientific and technical information (Centre d’Acquisition et de Diffusion de l’Information Scientifique et Technique - CADIST) in religious sciences, created at the BNU in 1980 in conjunction with the Catholic and Protestant Faculties of Theology at the University of Strasbourg (under a convention adopted in April 1981); Strasbourg was chosen because of the specific local religious context, the energy being put into research, and the age of its documentary collections,

  • its activity as a centre in association with the National Library of France (BnF) for religious sciences, created in 1994, when it set up cooperation for sharing documents between the BNU and the BnF with a view to complementarity; having concentrated until 2011 on documentary acquisitions (mainly Protestant movements in Europe, religious sociology, and German publications on Judaism), this complementarity is now being directed towards assistance with digitisation,

  • the BnF's allocation the BNU of the second publisher's copy for statutory deposit in religious sciences, which makes it possible to cover France's entire production, and

  • the Franciscan collection, providing a permanent home for the libraries of the Franciscan Family since 2002.

Haggada du scibe Eliezer Seligmann de Rosheim écrite et illustrée à Neckarsulm en 1779: 4e double-page (foliotation par double-page) © BNU – Presses universitaires de StrasbourgHaggada du scibe Eliezer Seligmann de Rosheim écrite et illustrée à Neckarsulm en 1779: 4e double-page (foliotation par double-page) © BNU – Presses universitaires de Strasbourg

The specialist centre increases by about 3 000 works a year, and receives more than 700 titles of periodicals by purchase, gift and exchange. By tradition, Christianity, Biblical studies, the history of the Churches, dogma and practical theology constitute the major focal points for documents kept by the specialist centre at the University of Strasbourg. Judaism, Islam, Asian religions and ancient religions, the history and sociology of religions, and religious philosophy are also important elements. Acquisitions are almost exclusively devoted to publications from outside France (particularly in German and English), for both critical works on sources and exegetic, historical and sociological studies.

The specialist centre also offers specialised electronic resources: sources in unabridged texts (Acta Sanctorum, Dead Sea Scrolls, Early Church Fathers, Library of Latin texts, Luthers Werke, Patrologia latina, etc), dictionaries and encyclopaedias (Anchor Bible Dictionary, Encyclopaedia Judaica, Encyclopaedia of Islam, Encyclopaedia of the Qur'an, etc), bibliographic databases (ATLA Religion Database), etc.
The section on "Online Periodicals" also gives access to the unabridged text of academic journals (Archives de Sciences Sociales des Religions, Church History, Franciscan Studies, History of Religions, Journal of Biblical Literature, Modern Judaism, Recherches de Science Religieuse, Revue de l'Histoire des Religions, Studia Islamica, etc).

The BNU is a member of the association European Theological Libraries (BETH).

Centre manager:
Madeleine Zeller
tel.: +33 (0)3 88 25 28 36

For more information:
Sonia Bosc. "Le Cadist de sciences religieuses de Strasbourg". In Bulletin des Bibliothèques de France, 2003, no.6, pp. 38-47. Read the article.
David-Georges Picard and Madeleine Zeller. "Mettre en scène le fait religieux". In: Bulletin des Bibliothèques de France, 2010, no.1, pp. 40-45. Read the article.

Library of the Grand Seminary of Strasbourg

The following is a list of the documents [in French] in the library of the Grand Seminary of Strasbourg:

Franciscan Collection

The Franciscan Collection consists of the libraries of those convents of the Franciscan Province of France and Belgium where activity no longer justifies maintaining the works in situ.

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