Marist priest, Orientalist; b. Saint-Romain d'Urfé, France, Dec. 3, 1871; d. Dec. 8, 1937. After studying at the Petit Séminaire de Saint-Jodard, he pursued his priestly studies at Dodon, Md., and was ordained a Marist in 1897. He obtained his Ph.D. in Semitic languages and literatures at The Catholic University of America, where he taught from 1912 until his death in 1937. He was the 1926 annual professor and acting director of the American School of Oriental Research in Jerusalem and a member of the 1930 Harvard-Catholic University expedition to Sinai. As an orientalist, Butin made his main contribution in placing the study of the Proto-Sinaitic inscriptions on a solid basis for the investigation of the origins of the alphabet. His doctoral dissertation was an explanation of the enigmatic "extraordinary points" of the Pentateuch. Among his other contributions were three books, 38 articles, and 21 book reviews. The founding of the Catholic Biblical Association of America was due largely to his initiative.
Bibliography: j. a. grispino and r. t. cochran, "Rev. Romain François Butin, S.M.," The Catholic Biblical Quarterly 24(1962) 383–393.