Gabriel Sionita

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Maronite Orientalist; b. Edden, Lebanon, 1577; d. Paris, 1648. He studied Syriac and Hebrew, as well as Latin and theology, at the Maronite College in Rome. In 1614 he went, with John Hesronita, to Paris, where he collaborated on the Parisian polyglot bible and where he was soon given the chair of Semitic languages at the Sorbonne. He was ordained in 1622 at the age of 45. His collaboration on the Polyglot Bible from 1614 to 1645, marked by numerous disturbances mostly due to his abulic character, was limited to the revision and correction of almost all its Arabic and Syriac texts, most of which he also translated into Latin. For the Gospels, however, he merely revised the current Latin text, and he made no Latin translation from the Syriac for the Sapiential Books and Apocalypse. Among other works, he published also the Arabic text of the Geographia Nubiensis (Rome 1592, Paris 1619), with Latin translation, based especially on the geographical writings of Idrisi (1100c. 1166), and in 1616 a short Arabic grammar.

Bibliography: j. le long, Bibliotheca sacra, ed. a. g. masch, 2 v. (Paris 177890) 1:350352. Biographie universelle, ed. l. g. michaud, 45 v. (Paris 184365) 15:325326. j. assfalg, Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche 2 4:482.

[j. m. sola-sole]

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Gabriel Sionita

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