ERPENIUS (VAN ERPE), THOMAS: Dutch Arabist; b. at Gorkum (22 m. e.s.e. of Rotterdam) Sept. 7, 1584; d. at Leyden Nov. 13, 1624. He studied at Middelburg and Leyden, and then traveled through France, Germany, Italy, and England. Almost immediately after his return, he was appointed professor of Oriental languages at Leyden (Feb., 1613). In addition to his academic activity, his position as royal interpreter kept him in constant touch with the East. His entrance on his professorship was signalized by the publication of his Grammatica arabica (Leyden, 1613), which, like its summary, the Rudimenta linguæ arabicæ (1620), went through many editions and was not superseded until the works of De Sacy appeared, two centuries later. After the death of his patron Josef Scaliger, Erpenius published a posthumous edition of the latter's Proverbiorum Arabicorum centuriæ duæ (1614), while his duties as a teacher resulted in his publication of the first edition of the fables of Lokman in his Locmani sapientis fabulæ (1615). In 1615 he also published his Pauli Apostoli ad Romanos epistola, Arabice, which he followed in the next year with his Novum Domini Nostri Jesu Christi Testamentum, Arabice (1616). The Gospels were based in general on the Greek text, Acts and the Epistles on the Peshito, and Revelation on a Coptic source. In 1619 Erpenius was appointed professor of Hebrew, and now edited his Pentateuchus Mosis, Arabice (1622), which, however, like his Grammatica Eberæa generalis (1621), possesses but a minor importance. His edition of the Christian Arabic historian Ibn al-Amid al-Makin was completed by J. Golius (Historia Saracenica auctore Georgio Elmacino, 1625), and in the year after his death appeared his Psalmi Davidis, Syriace (1625), while C. l'Empereur edited his Grammatica Chaldæa et Syrica (Amsterdam, 1628).

(A. SOCIN†.)