Arbez, Father Edward

1967, December 27

Date of Birth: 1881, May 16


No Memorial Card is Available

Edward Arbez was born in Paris, France, on May 16, 1881. His earliest education was in Aix en Province. From 1894 to 1898 he attended the College of St. Foy l’Argentière. He took his Philosophy in the seminary of Aix from 1898 to 1900. In 1900 he began the study of Theology at St. Sulpice in Paris, but in 1901 he came to St. Austin’s College, the Sulpician house of studies at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., where he continued his Theology and took up the study of Oriental Languages. In 1903 he returned to France, where he finished his Theology, made his Solitude, and was ordained to the priesthood on May 28, 1904.

Father Arbez returned that year to the United States and was assigned to St. Patrick’s Seminary in San Francisco, California. For a year he taught Apologetics, then began his long career of teaching Sacred Scripture. While he was teaching in the major seminary department of St. Patrick’s, he was also teaching various subjects in the college department. In 1917 he came back to The Catholic University of America to pursue the study of Oriental Languages. In 1918 he returned to St. Patrick’s. When St. Joseph’s College opened in Mountain View as the preparatory seminary for St. Patrick’s, Father Arbez gave up his college classes. He remained at St. Patrick’s until he was called to the Sulpician Seminary (now Theological College) at The Catholic University of America in 1928.

At the Sulpician Seminary Father Arbez taught Sacred Scripture and Hebrew, and in 1937 he added graduate courses to his teaching chores, becoming the mainstay of the departments both of Sacred Scripture and Oriental Languages. When in 1940 all the seminary courses were transferred to the university itself, he moved from the Theological College to Caldwell Hall.

In 1936 Father Arbez had been chosen as Chairman of the Editorial Board for the revision of the Douay/Rheims Bible, and later for an entirely new translation of the Old Testament. Out of this work of revision was born the Catholic Biblical Association, of which Father Arbez was first president. His mastery of Biblical languages led him to an active participation (and even a leadership role) in various learned societies. Although he retired from active teaching in 1951 at the age of seventy, he continued as chaplain of the Sisters at Caldwell Hall, and took up translation-work for the State Department and for the F.B.I. When the Sisters left Caldwell Hall in 1957, Farther Arbez moved back to Theological College. In making the move, Father Arbez donated to St. Mary’s Seminary in Baltimore more than 6000 volumes of his priceless library. He continued his scholarly work up to the time of his death, which occurred on December 27, 1967.

Adapted and condensed from The Voice and from Father Arbez’ “Personal Data” sheet.