Nobili, Roberto De

Nobili, Roberto De (in Latin deNobilibus), an Italian Jesuit, noted as a missionary, was born at Mont Pulciano, in Tuscany, in Sept., 1577. He was a relative of pope Marcellus II, and nephew of the celebrated cardinal Bellarmine. Nobili studied at Rome and at Naples, and in 1590 joined the Jesuits, who sent him as a missionary to India. Arrived in Asia, he at once applied himself to the study of the Oriental languages, and in a short time acquired a good command of the Badaga, Bengalee, Malabar, and Tamul dialects, the most generally used in India. He now commenced preaching in the southern provinces; and, in order to gain more influence, he did not hesitate to represent himself as a foreign Brahman. He assumed the dress and practiced the customs of that class, and thus succeeded in converting to what the Jesuits call Christianity a certain number of natives. Some. of his colleagues, however, accused him of practices closely resembling idolatry. The affair was carried before the court of Rome. Nobili secured the approbation of the inquisitors at Goa and of the archbishop of Cranganor. and gained his cause; pope Gregory XV authorized the converted (?) Brahmans to continue to wear the marks and the dress of their caste. This toleration naturally increased the number of adherents to the mission. In 1651 Nobili retired to the. college of Malpoora, where he died, Jan. 16,1656. According to Sotwell, he wrote in the different language which he was acquainted with, Catechismus ad Gentiliu conversionem in partem V divisus: — Scientia animce, liber in quo, prceter catholicce fidei veritatis ad animam pertinente, omnes Orientis errores, circa fatum et transnzigirationem animaru7m, confutantur: — Apologia contra proba que adversus legem Dei ab ethnicis objiciuntur, ubi eademn objecta in

eorum sectas apte retorquentur: — Liber de Signis verce legis utilissimus: — Lucerna spiritualis: — De vita ceterna: — De Fide pro instituendis pueris: — Compendium catechismi: -Dialogus in quo transmigratio animarum- impugnatur: — Regulce perfectionis: -Vita B. V. Marice versu Tamulico, quce in omnibus locis et ab omni hominum genere cantari solet, pro consolatione animnaru suarum: — Opuscula: — Conciones varice, etc., Mr.Weiss, together with the Hindûs of Pondicherry, considers Nobili as the author of the Ezurvedam, a modern imitation of the Vedas. See Parigi, Notizie de' Cardinale R. de Nobili, etc. (1836); Sotwell, Bibliotheca Societatis Jesu, p.-724-725; Francis Ellis, in Asiatic Researches, vol. xiv; Jouvency. Hist. des Jesuites; Lettres edifiantes, 10:72 (ed. 1781); Norbert. Memoires historiques sur les missions du Malabar, 2:145; Hase, Ch. Hist. p. 472; Ianke, Hist. of the Papacy, 2:95; Amer. Presb. Rev. Oct. 1869, p. 678. (J. N. P.)

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