THOMAS OBICINI (1585-1632)

An Italian and Orientalist. In 1616 and 1619 he took part in the discussions with the Nestorians (Chaldeans) at the Synod of Diarbekr as papal delegate and was a member of the committee that produced the Arabic translation of the Bible for the Congregatio de propaganda fide. He was the first European scholar to study a scala (dictionary; Arabic, sullam) brought from Egypt by Pietro della Valle. When he died, the manuscript was published by A. Kircher. The result of Obicini’s studies (HS Borgiani Lat. 769) was published by A. van Lantschoot as Un précurseur d’Athanasius Kircher: et la scala vaticana 71 ( du Muséon 22, Louvain, 1948).


  • Giamberardini, G. “Father Thomas Obicini: Pioneer of Coptic Philology.” Studies 25 (1965):277-84.
  • Lantschoot, A. van. “Lettre inédite de Thomas Obicini.” Revista degli studi orientali 28 (1953):118-29.