Cureton, William (1808–1864)

Syriac (and Arabic) scholar. After a period (1834–7) as a sub-librarian in the Bodleian Library, Oxford, he became Assistant Keeper of Manuscripts in the British Museum, where he was in charge of cataloguing Arabic mss. The acquisition, in the early 1840s, of many ancient Syriac mss. from Dayr al-Suryān in Egypt diverted much of his energy to publishing texts from this very important collection. As a result of his identification of it, one of the two Old Syriac Gospel mss. has been designated as the ‘Curetonianus’. He continued publishing texts from the British Museum after he left it, on his appointment (1849) as Canon of Westminster. Among his most significant publications were the early Syriac versions of Ignatius ’s Letters (1845; 1849); Athanasius’s Festal Letters (1848); Yuḥanon of Ephesus’s Ecclesiastical History, Part III (1853); the ‘Curetonianus’ ms. of the Old Syriac Gospels (1858); Eusebius’s Palestinian Martyrs (1861); and two collections of shorter texts, Spicilegium Syriacum (1855) and Ancient Syriac Documents (1864), the former of which contains the first edition of the ‘Book of the Laws of the Countries’ attributed to Bardaiṣan.


  • S.  Lane-Poole and S.  Agnew, ‘Cureton, William’, in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography 14 (2004), 713–4.

| Cureton, William |


Front Matter A (73) B (53) C (26) D (36) E (27) F (5) G (30) H (22) I (31) J (15) K (11) L (12) M (56) N (19) O (3) P (28) Q (11) R (8) S (71) T (39) U (1) V (5) W (3) X (1) Y (41) Z (4) Back Matter
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