About us

Who Are We?

The purpose of the Canadian Friends of the École Biblique (CFEB) is to advance the academic study of religion by offering scholarships to Canadian graduate-level students and academics to study and do research at the distinguished École Biblique et Archéologique Française in Jerusalem.

When funds are available, the CFEB also contributes to library acquisitions and IT enhancement, teaching, and other academic projects at the École Biblique.

The CFEB is a registered charity under federal statutes in Canada, a status that allows us to provide funds that will enhance Canadian academic life to an approved education institution outside the country.

École biblique

History of the CFEB

The CFEB was established by Dr. William Klassen, a Canadian professor of New Testament, in 1995. In its early years, it raised money for a major renovation, expansion and modernization of the century-old library of the École Biblique.

When this project was completed in 2001, the Canadian Friends redirected their fundraising priorities to providing the opportunity for Canadian graduate students and professors to study and conduct research at the École Biblique.

In 2014, the Quebec section of Alumni and Friends of the Ecole Biblique (established by Prof. Guy Couturier in 1975) merged with the CFEB.

Since 2003, the CFEB has granted more than 30 scholarship awards totaling more than $155,000. Other projects have been undertaken as funds permit (see CFEB PROJECTS).



In Memoriam: Burton MacDonald, 1939-2022

Burton had an ongoing relationship with the École Biblique: he augmented his doctoral studies there, where he was awarded an Élève Titulair in “Bible and Archaeology.” While a student at the École, he became involved in archaeological field work in Israel, which translated into forty years of archaeological work in Jordan.

Read his full obituary from Dignity Memorial, here.


Congratulations to CFEB Board member Rev. Dr. Eleanor Clitheroe who successfully defended her doctoral thesis, “Spirituality of Aging, Eldering and Blessing,” on May 24, 2022 at the Oblate School of Theology in San Antonio, Texas. With this, she has earned a Doctorate in Practical Theology!

The chair of her doctoral committee was Dr. Ron Rolheiser, President Emeritus of the Oblate School, and CFEB President Michael W. Higgins served on the committee as well.


In Memoriam: Edward J.R. Jackman, 1940-2021

It is with profound sadness that we announce the passing of our dear colleague and friend, the Rev. Edward J.R. Jackman, on June 18, 2021. “Father Ed,” as he was known to many, was a founding member of the CFEB/ACEB, serving as Secretary-Treasurer from our first Board meeting in 1996 to the present. His leadership and generosity were a gift and guiding light. May he rest in peace.

Find Father Ed’s obituary here.

Our Board

The CFEB Board consists of scholars and non-scholars, Protestant as well as Catholic. The board meets three to four times a year.



Former board members include:

Michael W. Higgins, author, biographer, Basilian Distinguished Fellow of Contemporary Catholic Thought, Guelph, ON
Peter Warrian, Senior Research Fellow, Comparative Program on Health and Society, Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy, University of Toronto
Edward Jackman, priest, historian, philanthropist, Secretary-Treasurer 1996-2021, Kleinburg, ON*
Marie de Lovinfosse, professor of Biblical Studies, Institut de formation théologique de Montréal, Montréal, QC
Michel Gourgues, OP, Faculty of Theology, Dominican University College Ottawa, ON, guest teacher at École Biblique, Jerusalem
Glenn Byer, Editor

Lorraine Caza, CND, professor and former superior general of the Congregation of Notre Dame
R.P. Guy Couturier, CSC, President Emeritus, retired professor, l’Université de Montréal*
Chris Foley, Professor, University of Saskatchewan
Tim Hegedus, Retired Professor, Waterloo Lutheran Seminary
Philippe LeBlanc, OP, Founding Vice-President, international human rights worker, Toronto*
Jean-Jacques Robillard, OP, Founding President, former prior in Jerusalem and provincial of the Canadian Dominican Province
Joseph Sinasac, publishing director of Novalis, Toronto

*We are sad to report that Rev. Edward Jackman passed away on June 18, 2021; Fr. Guy Couturier on May 9, 2017; Fr. Philippe LeBlanc on December 30, 2017; and Bill Klassen on January 29, 2019. We miss these dear friends and colleagues, and deeply appreciate their years of dedication to the Canadian Friends.

Founding Director


William Klassen, Retired professor of New Testament, Principal Emeritus of St. Paul’s University College, University of Waterloo*