Wright, William (1830–1889)
Syriac and Arabic scholar. Born in north India, he was educated at St. Andrews University (Scotland), and subsequently studied at Halle with Emil Rödiger, and at Leiden with R. Dozy. He was appointed Professor of Arabic at University College, London in 1885, moving the next year to a similar chair at Trinity College, Dublin, where he remained till 1861, when he was appointed to a post in the British Museum, in order to catalogue the large collection of Syriac mss. acquired from Dayr al-Suryān. Finally, in 1870, he was appointed as Sir Thomas Adam’s Professor of Arabic at Cambridge University. He was an enormously learned and productive scholar; in the Syriac field, besides his monumental Catalogue of Syriac Manuscripts in the British Museum acquired since the year 1838 (3 vols.; 1870–2), followed (after his death) by A Catalogue of the Syriac Manuscripts preserved in the Library of the University of Cambridge (2 vols.; 1901), he edited a large number of important Syriac texts, including Contributions to the Apocryphal Literature of the New Testament (1865), Aphrahaṭ’s ‘Demonstrations’ (1869), the Apocryphal Acts of the Apostles (1871), the Chronicle of Yeshuʿ the Stylite (1882), Kalila and Dimna (1884), and Eusebius’s Ecclesiastical History (1898; with N. McLean). He also published a number of important shorter texts in the Journal of Sacred Literature. His A Short History of Syriac Literature, which appeared posthumously (1894; repr. 2001), remains useful for lesser known authors, though it is now outdated for many major ones.
- (Unsigned), in JRAS 1889, 708–13.
- G. J. Roper, in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography 60 (2004), 506–7.
How to Cite This Entry
Footnote Style Citation with Date:
Sebastian P. Brock, “Wright, William,” in Gorgias Encyclopedic Dictionary of the Syriac Heritage: Electronic Edition, edited by Sebastian P. Brock, Aaron M. Butts, George A. Kiraz and Lucas Van Rompay (Gorgias Press, 2011; online ed. Beth Mardutho, 2018), https://gedsh.bethmardutho.org/Wright-William.
Bibliography Entry Citation:
Brock, Sebastian P. “Wright, William.” In Gorgias Encyclopedic Dictionary of the Syriac Heritage: Electronic Edition. Edited by Sebastian P. Brock, Aaron M. Butts, George A. Kiraz and Lucas Van Rompay. Digital edition prepared by David Michelson, Ute Possekel, and Daniel L. Schwartz. Gorgias Press, 2011; online ed. Beth Mardutho, 2018. https://gedsh.bethmardutho.org/Wright-William.
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