Pagninus, Sanctes an Italian monk, noted as a Hebraist and exegete, by Buxtorf called "Vir linguarum Orientalium peritissimus," was born at Lucca in 1466. He became a Dominican in 1486, and was the pupil of Savonarola and others famous in theology and Oriental learning at Fiesoli, where his rapid progress won the esteem of cardinal de Medici, afterwards Leo X. Having received holy orders, Pagninus devoted himself to the duties of the pulpit, and the persuasive earnestness of his preaching made many celebrated converts under Leo X he was professor of a school of Oriental literature, founded by that pontiff at Rome: but after Leo's decease he accompanied the cardinal-legate to Avignon, and subsequently removed to Lyons, where he became a zealous opponent of the Reformed religion, and was the means of founding a hospital for the plague. He died there in 1541, honored and regretted by rich and poor.
The learned works of Pagninus have been highly esteemed by some, severely criticised by others.
(1.) He published at Lyons, in 1528, Veteris et novi Testamenti nova translatio, which had been the labor of thirty years, and was to have been published at the expense of Leo X had he lived to see it finished. In the preface he details the care which he had taken to make the work perfect. It is the first Latin Bible in which the verses of each chapter are distinguished and numbered as in the original, and is remarkable for the extreme closeness with which the Latin is made to follow and take the shape of the Hebrew idiom. Richard Simon charges him with this as a fault, saying that it not only makes his language obscure and barbarous', but sometimes changes the sense of the original. Servetus published a folio edition of this work, which he infected with his own errors, at Lyons in 1642. That of Arias Montanus, in the Antwerp Polyglot, exaggerates the peculiarities of his Latin style. Still the editions of 1599 and 1610-13, in 8vo, which give an inter-linear and word-for-word translation of the Hebrew with the vowel-points, is to this day the most convenient Hebrew Bible for beginners.
(2.) His Thesaurus Linguoe Sanctoe (Lyons, 1529, in folio) is much esteemed. The folio edition of Geneva, 1614, by J. Mercier and A. Cavalleri, is very inferior, and in many places corrupt. There is also a Paris edition, in 4to, of 1548.
(3.) An abridgment of the Thesaurus in 8vo, with the title Thesauri Pagnini Epitome, was printed at Antwerp in 1616, and often reprinted. He also published
(4.) Isagoges seu introductionis ad sacras litteras liber unus (Lyons, 1528, 4to; ibid. 1536, fol.).
(5.) Hebraicarum institutionum libri quatuor ex Rabbi David Kinchi priore parte fere transcripti (ibid. 1526; Paris, 1549), both 4tos.
(6.) An abridgment of this grammar, also in 4to, was published at Paris in 1546 and 1556. —
(7.) Catena Argentea in Pentatetuchum (Lyons, 1536, folio), in six volumes. This is a collection of the comments of Hebrew, Greek, and Latin writers on the five books of Moses. He also produced several other learned works See Histoire des honmmnes illustres de l'ordre de St. Domique, by Touron; Bibliotheca Sancta, by Sixtus of Siena.