Graffin, René

GRAFFIN, RENÉ (1858-1941)

A prelate and Orientalist. He was born at Pontvallain, Sarthe. He gave a decisive impetus to the study and editing of languages and literatures. He studied at the French Seminary in Rome and then completed this work at Innsbruck. In charge of Syriac studies at the Institut catholique in Paris, he conceived the project of an “Oriental Migne,” which was at first confined to Syriac with the Patrologia Syriaca series,   consisting   of   three   volumes   only:   Aphraate   (1897), Bardesane (1907), and Livre des degrés (1927; Book of Steps), with vocalized texts and Latin translations.

Beginning in 1903, in the series, he published texts in Arabic, Armenian, Coptic, Ethiopian, Greek, Georgian, Slavonic, and Syriac, with translations on the facing page (usually French). From 1896 to 1940 he edited de l’Orient chrétien (29 volumes), which unfortunately terminated with Volume 30 in 1946. His indefatigable and principal collaborator was Abbot François NAU, followed by Abbot M. Brière. The was continued by his nephew, François Graffin, S.J., and as of 1984, it comprised some 191 fascicles.