Obizzini, Tommaso

Obizzini, Tommaso an Italian Orientalist, who flourished in the first half of the 17th century, was born in Non, near Novara. He entered the Order of the Minor Brothers, and applied himself to the study of the Oriental languages. Devoted to the missions of the East, he went to Jerusalem in the capacity of apostolic commissary and guardian of a convent of his order. During his sojourn in the Holy Land he succeeded in restoring to Christian worship two churches dedicated to the Virgin and St. John the Baptist, of which the Turks had taken possession, and by order of pope Paul V he presided over a synod which condemned the heresies of Nestor and Eutyches, still influential in the East. On his return to Rome he taught for several years Arabic, Syriac, and Coptic in the monastery of St. Peter in Montorio, and formed a great number of missionaries. It was there that he died, according to Wadding, in 1638, at an advanced age; but Achille Venerio, one of his disciples, says expressly in the dedication of Thesaurus, published in 1636, that he was no longer living sometime previous to that date. Obizzini is also known by the name of Thomas Novariensis, or Novaria. We have of his works, Isagoge id est breve introductorium Arabicum in scientiam logices, cum versione Latina, ac theses sanctcefidei (Rome, 1625, 4to):Grammatica Arabica agrumia appellata, cum versione Latina et dilucida expositione (ibid. 1631, 8vo): this is a valuable edition of the Arabic Grammar entitled Jarumia, and favorably quoted by Silvestre de Sacy: Thesaurus Arabico-Syro-Latinus (ibid. 1636, 4to); the printing, superintended by Achille Venerio, is very faulty; this book was largely composed from a Syriac vocabulary whose author is Elias Barsines, a metropolitan of Nisibis, of the 11th century. See Wadding, Script. Ord. Minorum; Tiraboschi, Storia della letter. Ital. vol. viii.

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