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Antonio Martini

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Archbishop of Florence, Biblical scholar; b. at Prato in Tuscany, 20 April, 1720; d. at Florence, 31 December 1809. Having received holy Orders, he was appointed director of the Superga College at Turin. Cardinal delle Lanze, knowing that Benedict XIV, then pope, desired a good version of the Bible in contemporary Tuscan, urged Martini to undertake the work. The latter began a translation of the New Testament from the original Greek, but soon found his labour, in conjunction with his duties in the Superga, beyond his physical strength. He accordingly resigned the directorship and accepted from the King Charles Emmanuel of Sardinia a state councillorship together with a pension. In spite of some discouragement upon the decease of Benedict XIV, Martini persevered, completing the publication of the New Testament in 1771. In his work upon the Hebrew text of the Old Testament, which followed, he was assisted by the rabbi Terni, a Jewish scholar. The whole work was approved, and Martini personally commended, by Pius VI, who made him archbishop of Florence in 1781. As archbishop he succeeded in partly foiling an attempt to publish a garbled edition of his work, and a third authorized edition issued from Archiepiscopal Press of Florence in 1782-92 (see also VERSIONS OF THE BIBLE).


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