FABRICIUS, Johann Philip. Kleeberg/Hessen 22.1.1711 — Madras 23.1. 1791. German Missionary and Tamil Scholar. In India from 1740 until his death. After studies at Halle he was chosen to the Trankebar mission and came to India in 1740. “Went to Madras in service of Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, assisted at the English Church when required. When Fort St. George surrendered to the French, 1746, he took refuge at the Dutch settlement at Pulicat, and again, when Count Lally and his army appeared in Dec. 1758; returned, on raising of the siege, to Vepery, plundered by the Muhammadans. Ministered at Vellore, 1772-3, up to 1780, greatly trusted by Government and the people. Mismanaged the funds, imprisoned for debt for 18 months, 1787-9, relieved by Gericke in 1788, as the head of Vepery Mission and school, died there.”
A Tamil scholar, author of the well-known dictionary (the rev. version is still useful for classical literature), translated parts of the New Testament into Tamil, and composed lyrics in Tamil.
Publications: with J. C. Breithaupt: Dictionary, Malabar and English, wherein the words and phrases of the Tamulian Language, commonly called by Europeans the Malabar Language, are explained in English; by the English Missionaries of Madras. Wepery 1779, 2nd ed. Madras 1809, 3rd ed. Tranquebar 1897; new rev. and enl. ed. Tamil and English Dictionary based on “Malabar–English Dictionary”. 660 p. Tranquebar 1910.
– with J. C. Breithaupt: The Grammar for learning the principles of the Malabar Language, properly called Tamul or Tamulian Language, by the English Missionaries of Madras. 2nd ed. Wepery 1789.
– published 335 hymns in Tamil, mostly translated from German, revised Ziegenbalg’s Tamil translation of the New Testament (1758, rev. ed. 1766), Psalms (1756( and Old Testament (1798).
Sources: Buckland, Dictionary; Wikipedia.
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