MESSINA, Giuseppe

MESSINA, Giuseppe. San Cataldo, Sicily 6.1.1893 — Messina 28.6.1951. Father. S.J. Italo-French Scholar of Iranian and of History of Religion. Born near Caltanisetta in Sicily. Joined the Jesuits and studied philosophy in France and theology in the Netherlands, ordained priest in 1922. Then studied Iranian philology in Rome (Pontifical Biblical Institute, M.A. 1928) and especially under Markwart at Berlin. Ph.D. 1930 Berlin. From 1928 Professor (di iranistica e di storia del Cristianesimo nell’ Oriente antico) at Pontifical Biblical Institute (taught Sanskrit, too), then from 1942 also Libero docente d’Iranico at University of Rome. In 1936 and 1938 visited Iran.

According to Cereti, Messina’s main interests contained “Zoroastrian religion, on its relation to the classical world and to other faiths, primarily Judaism and Christianity, as well as on New Persian texts, mainly a Persian Diatessaron translated from Syriac”. He dated Zoroaster emending the 6000 years before Xerxes in Greek accounts into 600.

Publications: “La dottrina manichea delle origini e la religione cristiana”,  Biblica  10, 1929, 313-334; “Il Saušyant nella tradizione iranica e la sua attesa”,  Orientalia  1, 1932, 149-176; other articles.

– Der Ursprung der Magier und die zarathustrische Religion. 102 p. Rom 1930 (diss. Berlin).

I Magi a Betlemme e una predizione di Zoroatro. 102 p. Biblica et Orientalia 3. R. 1933; “Una presunta profezia di Zoroastro”,  Biblica  14, 1933, 170-198.

– De vetere religione Persarum eiusque relatione cum religione V. et N.T. 1-2. R. 1933-36 (in Latin).

Inizi di lirica ascetica e mistica persiana. 51 p. Biblica et Orientalia 7. R. 1938 (first publ. in Civiltà cattolica 89:1, 1938, 229-244, 415-428, 528-542).

Edited & translated: Libro Apocalittico Persiano Ayatkar i Zamaspik. 155 p. Biblica et Orientalia 9. R. 1939.

– “Un Diatessaron persiano del sec. XIII, tradotto dal siriano”, Biblica 30, 1942, 268-305; Biblica 24, 1943, 59-106

Cristianesimo, Buddhismo, Manicheismo nell’ Asia Antica. 16+261 p. Rome 1947.

Diatesseron Persiano. 114+387 p. Biblica et Orientalia 14. R. 1951.

– Edited Markwart’s posthumous works.

Sources: C.G. Cereti, Encyclop. Iranica 2006 (online); *Acta Pontif. Inst. Biblici 5/7, 1951, 264-269; Indo-Iranica (Calcutta) 5:3, 1952, 17; Lessico Universale Italiano 13, 1974; few lines in Italian Wikipedia. 

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