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Bible Encyclopedias

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature

Lee, Samuel

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(1), D.D., a distinguished English Orientalist and Biblical scholar, was born at Longnor, in Shropshire, May 14, 1783; was educated but moderately, and apprenticed to a carpenter. His aptitude for learning, however, led him to continue his studies privately, and he thus acquired the Latin language. He next mastered the Greek, and from that he advanced to Hebrew, Chaldee, Syriac, and Samaritan, all of which he acquired by his own unaided efforts before he was twenty-five years of age. By this time he had married, and exchanged his former occupation for that of a schoolmaster. Attracting the notice of archdeacon Corbett and Dr. Jon. Scott, he was, by their aid, enabled to add to his other acquisitions a knowledge of Arabic, Persic, and Hindustanee, as well as some European and other tongues. In 1815 he accepted an engagement with the Church Missionary Society, and became a student of Queen's College, Cambridge, where he took his degree of B.A. in 1817. At this time he edited portions of the Scriptures, and of the Prayer-book, in several Oriental languages. In 1818 he took orders, and preached at Shrewsbury, still carrying on his Oriental studies; at this time he is said to have had the mastery over eighteen languages. In 1819 he was honored, as his talents certainly deserved, with the professorship of Arabic, and in 1834 was made regius professor of Hebrew at Cambridge University, besides receiving some pieces of Church preferment, and the title of D.D. first from the University of Halle, and then from that of Cambridge. Shortly before his death, Dec. 16,1852, he was made rector of Barley, in Somersetshire, where he died. Besides the editions of the Scriptures which he carried through the press, he published several valuable linguistical works, of which the most important are, Grammar of the Hebrew Language, compiled from the best authorities, chiefly Oriental, which has passed through several editions: A Lexicon, Heb., Chald., and Engl. (Lond. 1840): The Book of the Patriarch Job translated, with Introduction and Commentary (Lond. 1837): An Inquiry into the Nature, Progress, and End of Prophecy (Camb. 1849): Prolegomena in Bib. Polygl. Londinens. Minora (Lond. 1828). He also published an edition of the controversial tracts of Martyn and his opponents; edited Sir William Jones's Grammar of the Persian Language, with an addition of his own, containing a synopsis of Arabic grammar; and translated a anannotated the travels of Ibn-Batuta from the Arabic. A minor work of his, Dissent Unscripturanl and Unreasonable, led to a controversy with Dr. J. Pye Smith (in 1834; the pamphlets were published in 1835). Dr. Lee has generally been recognized not, only as a great scholar, but also as the greatest British Orientalist of his day, and his writings bear evident traces of a vigorous, earnest, and independent mind loving truth, and boldly pursuing it. See Lond. Gentl. Magazine, 1853, pt. 1, 203 sq.; Blackwood's Magazine, 49:597 sq.; Kitto, Bibl. Cyclop. vol. 2, s.v.; Allibone, Dict. Brit. and Amer. Authors. vol. 2, s.v.

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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Lee, Samuel'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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