Hershel Shanks: Père Benoit, you are in a consummate way representative of the French in Jerusalem, or of the scholarly world of France in Jerusalem. Most people in the United States are not aware that so many different nationalities have their scholarly representatives in Jerusalem and have worked here for many, many years.
We’re sitting here in the couvent (convent) of the École Biblique et Archéeologique Française, and outside, within a few hundred meters, is Damascus Gate, with all the hustle-bustle of Jerusalem. Damascus Gate, of all the gates to the Old City, is the most raucous, I think, and the most crowded. It is the noisiest part of Jerusalem. Yet, here, just a half block away is the beautiful peace and serenity where we sit inside the walls of the École Biblique. How did the couvent itself originate at this site?