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an Italian of great skill in Oriental languages and biblical learning,

, an Italian of great skill in Oriental languages and biblical learning, was born at Lucca in 1466, and afterwards became an ecclesiastic of the order of St. Dominic, and resided for the greater part of his life at Lyons. He was deeply and accurately skilled in the Latin, Greek, Hebrew, Chaldee, and Arabic tongues, but especially in the Hebrew. In the course of his studies he was led to conceive that the Vulgate translation of the Scriptures was either not by Jerome, or greatly corrupted; and he therefore undertook to make a new one, following Jerom only where he conceived that his version corresponded with the original. This design, so very soon after the restoration of letters, is calculated to give us a very high opinion of Pagninus’s courage and learning, and appeared in so favourable a light to pope Leo X. that he promised to furnish him with all necessary expences for completing the work; and he was likewise encouraged in his labours by the succeeding popes, Hadrian VI. and Clement VII. who licensed the printing of it. It appears, by a letter of Picus Mirandula to Pagninus, that he had spent twenty-five years upon this translation. It is the first modern translation of the Bible from the Hebrew text; and the Jews who read it affirmed, that it agreed entirely with the Hebrew, and was as faithful, and more exact than the ancient translations. The great fault of Pagninus was, that he adhered too closely and servilely to the original text; and this scrupulous attachment made his translation, says father Simon, “obscure, barbarous, and full of solecisms. He imagined, that, to make a faithful translation of the Scriptures, it was necessary to follow exactly the letter, according to the strictness of grammar. This, however, is quite contrary to his pretended exactness, because two languages seldom agree in their ways of speaking; and therefore, instead of expressing the original in its proper purity, he defaces and robs it of its ornaments.” Father Simon, nevertheless, allows the great abilities and learning of Pagninus; and all the later commentators and translators of the Scriptures have agreed in giving him his just commendation. Huetius, though he seems to think father Simon’s criticism of him well grounded, yet makes no scruple to propose his manner as a model for all translators of the sacred books: “Scripture interpretandae rationibus utile nobis exemplar proposuit Sancius Pagninus.