News ID: 216485
Published: 0329 GMT June 10, 2018

Scottish Orientalist commemorated in Tehran

Scottish Orientalist commemorated in Tehran

A seminar titled 'A Report of the Diligence by Orientalists in Conducting Arab Studies' was held in Tehran on Thursday in which William Wright (1830–1889), a famous English Orientalist and professor of Arabic at the University of Cambridge, was honored and his hard work in this field was appreciated.

Addressing the conference, Babak Farzaneh, an Iranian professor, underlined that such meetings and seminars are required to be held on a monthly basis.

He pointed to the impacts of such conferences on the scientific improvement of the students and the greater dynamism of the Arabic Language and Literature Faculty of the North Tehran Branch of the Islamic Azad University.

Originally from Scotland, he said, Wright was born in a city in north India due to his father's mission in East India Company.

"After a while, he, along with his family, returned to Scotland and attended a school there. He pursued his education at the University of St. Andrews and graduated from the institute in 1849."

Farzaneh added he, then, traveled to Germany to pursue his linguistic studies under the tutelage of Emil Rödiger (1801-1874) a prominent German Orientalist.

"Despite all the problems and difficulties of linguistics, he managed to continue his efforts and studies in this field. That is why, Rödiger described him as one of his best students."

After that he traveled to the Netherlands to study Arabic manuscripts at Leiden University, he noted.

By editing a manuscript of 'The Travels of Ibn Jubair' written by Ibn Jubair, an Arab geographer, traveler and poet from al-Andalus, he received an honorary PhD degree, Farzaneh said.

Following that, he added, Wright returned to Scotland and edited a part of the book titled 'Nafḥ al-Ṭib' by Ahmad ibn Mohammed al-Maqqari in cooperation with Reinhart Dozy, a Dutch Orientalist.

After years of hard work and studies in this field, in 1870 he was appointed Sir Thomas Adams' Professor of Arabic at Cambridge University and he held the chair until his death in 1889.

Farzaneh said Wright's works mostly comprise translation of texts in Syriac language into English, editing and publishing manuscripts in Syriac and compiling an inventory of manuscripts.

Although he passed away at the age of 59, he lived a very fruitful life in which he wrote a large number of works. His diligence and persistence are undoubtedly admirable.

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