GIORGI, Antonio Agostino

GIORGI, Antonio Agostino (Augustinus Antonius Georgius; baptized Francesco Maria Giorgi). Santo Mauro di Romagna (near Rimini) 10.5.1711 — Rome 4.5.1797. Italian Monk, Theologian, and Orientalist, a Coptic Scholar and Pioneer of Tibetan Studies. Son of Antonio G. and Antonia Semprini. Augustinian monk since 1727, from 1752 librarian of Biblioteca Angelina in Rome. Finally he was 18 years also procurator general of his order. He is said to have dispelled hoary scholasticism from their colleges. He was active in theological disputes and taught often theology. A favourite of Benedict XIV. As an Oriental scholar he mainly knew Near Eastern languages and became known as a scholar of Coptic. From missionary material, especially by —> Orazio Della Penna and Cassiano da Macerata, he prepared the Alphabetum Tibetanum, an elaborate survey of Tibetan alphabet and orthography, geography, etc. In the time when Tibet and Tibetan were not properly known it had important role in the beginnings of Tibetology.

Publications: Alphabetum Tibetanum Missionum Apostolicum commodo editum. Praemissa est disquisitio qua de vario litterarum ac regionis nomine, gentis origine, moribus, superstitione, ac Manichaeismo fuse disseritur. 94+820 p. Rome 1762; repr. ed. by R. Kaschewsky. Köln 1987; “Auszüge aus des Augustinereremiten Georgius neuesten Nachrichten von Tibet”, Transl. by J. N. Eyring. Allgem. Historische Bibliothek 5–7, 1768, repr. Das Alphabetum Tibetanum in Auszügen. Hrsg. J. C. Aschoff. 5+152 p. Ulm 1989.

Editions of Coptic texts, an attempt at dechipherment of Palmyrene inscriptions (1782), etc.

Paulinus a Sancto Bartholomaeo: De veteribus Indis dissertatio, in qua cavillationes auctoris Alphabeti Tibetani [A. A. Giorgi,] castigantur. Romae 1795.

Sources: *G. Facioli Vercellone, D.B.I. 55, 300-304; *P. Lindegger, “Ist in A.G.’s Alph. Tib. ein ordnendes Prinzip erkennbar?”, ArO 71, 2003, 363-366; *Tr. Pomplun, “A.A.G., O.E.S.A. (1711-1797); between Augustinianism and the History of Religions”, Hist. of Rel. 11, 2020; N.B.G. 20; Walravens 2008, 153-155; Italian Wikipedia (as Ag. Ant. G.).

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