||Title: Auszug aus D. Robert Lowth's Lord Bischofs zu London Vorlesungen über die heilige Dichtkunst der Hebräer: mit Herders und Jones's Grundsätzen verbunden : ein Versuch, zur Beförderung des Bibelstudiums des alten Testaments, und insbesondre der Propheten und Psalme
This volume contains an excerpt from D. Robert Lowth's (Lord Bishop of London) Lectures on the sacred poetry of the Hebrew. Connected with Johann Gottfried Herder's work Vom Geist der ebräischen Poesie [the spirit of Hebrew poetry] and Sir William Jones's principles from Poeseos Asiaticae commentariorum libri sex.
Robert Lowth (1710 –1787) was a Bishop of the Church of England, a professor of poetry at Oxford University and the author of one of the most influential textbooks of English grammar. He was was born in Hampshire, England, the son of Dr William Lowth. He was educated at Winchester College and became a scholar of New College, Oxford in 1729. In 1735, while still at Oxford, Lowth took orders in the Anglican Church and was appointed vicar of Overton, Hampshire, a position he retained until 1741, when he was appointed professor of poetry at Oxford.
Bishop Lowth wrote a translation of the Bible. E.J. Waggoner said in 1899 that his translation included "without doubt, as a whole, the best English translation of the prophecy of Isaiah." In 1750 he was appointed archdeacon of Winchester. In 1752 he resigned the professorship at Oxford and married Mary Jackson. Shortly afterwards, in 1753, Lowth was appointed rector of East Woodhay. In 1754 he was awarded a Doctorate in Divinity by Oxford University, for his treatise on Hebrew poetry entitled Praelectiones Academicae de Sacra Poesi Hebraeorum.
Lowth is by no doubt best remembered for his publication in 1762 of A Short Introduction to English Grammar. Prompted by the absence of simple and pedagogical grammar textbooks in his day, Lowth set out to remedy the situation. Lowth's grammar is the source of many of the prescriptive shibboleths that are studied in schools, and established him as the first of a long line of usage commentators who judge the English language in addition to describing it. An example of both is one of his footnotes: "Whose is by some authors made the Possessive Case of which, and applied to things as well as persons; I think, improperly." His most famous (or infamous) contribution to the study of grammar was his prescription that sentences ending with a preposition - such as "what did you ask for?" - are inappropriate in formal writing.2
Lowth's method included criticising "false syntax"; his examples of false syntax were culled from Shakespeare, the King James Bible, John Donne, John Milton, Jonathan Swift, Alexander Pope, and other famous writers, raising the question, by what authority did Lowth aspire to judge these writers' syntax? His approach was based largely on Latin grammar, and a number of his judgments were arrived at by applying Latin grammar to English, a misapplication according to critics of a later generation (and his own stated principles; he condemned "forcing the English under the rules of a foreign Language"1). Thus Lowth condemns Addison's sentence "Who should I meet the other night, but my old friend?" on the grounds that the thing acted upon should be in the "Objective Case" (corresponding, as he says earlier, to an oblique case in Latin), rather than taking this example and others as evidence from noted writers that "who" can refer to direct objects.
Lowth's ipse dixits appealed to those who wished for certainty and authority in their language. Lowth's grammar was not written for children; however, within a decade after it appeared, versions of it adapted for the use of schools had appeared, and Lowth's stylistic opinions acquired the force of law in the schoolroom. The textbook remained in standard usage throughout educational institutions until the early 20th century.
Lowth was appointed a fellow of the Royal Societies of London and Göttingen in 1765. He was consecrated bishop of St David's in 1766; however, before the end of the year he was transferred to the see of Oxford. He remained Bishop of Oxford until 1777 when he was appointed Bishop of London as well as dean of the chapel royal and privy councillor. In 1783 he was offered the chance to become Archbishop of Canterbury, but declined due to failing health.
Johann Gottfried von Herder (1744-1803) is a philosopher of the first importance. This claim depends largely on the intrinsic quality of his ideas (of which this article will try to give an impression). But another aspect of it is his intellectual influence. This has been immense both within philosophy and beyond (much greater than is usually realized). For example, Hegel's philosophy turns out to be an elaborate systematic development of Herderian ideas (especially concerning God, the mind, and history); so too does Schleiermacher's (concerning God, the mind, interpretation, translation, and art); Nietzsche is deeply influenced by Herder (concerning the mind, history, and values); so too is Dilthey (in his theory of the human sciences); even J.S. Mill has important debts to Herder (in political philosophy); and beyond philosophy, Goethe was transformed from being merely a clever but conventional poet into a great artist largely through the early impact on him of Herder's ideas.
Indeed, Herder can claim to have virtually established whole disciplines which we now take for granted. For example, it was mainly Herder (not, as is often claimed, Hamann) who established fundamental ideas about an intimate dependence of thought on language which underpin modern philosophy of language. It was Herder who, through the same ideas, his broad empirical approach to languages, his recognition of deep variations in language and thought across historical periods and cultures, and in other ways, inspired W. von Humboldt to found modern linguistics. It was Herder who developed modern hermeneutics, or interpretation-theory, in a form that would subsequently be taken over by Schleiermacher and then more systematically formulated by Schleiermacher's pupil Böckh. It was Herder who, in doing so, also established the methodological foundations of nineteenth-century German classical scholarship (which rested on the Schleiermacher-Böckh methodology), and hence of modern classical scholarship generally. It was arguably Herder who did more than anyone else to establish the general conception and the interpretive methodology of our modern discipline of anthropology. Finally, Herder also made vital contributions to the progress of modern biblical scholarship.
Sir William Jones (1746 –1794) was an English philologist and student of ancient India, particularly known for his proposition of the existence of a relationship among Indo-European languages. Jones was born at Beaufort Buildings, Westminster; his father (also named Sir William Jones) was a mathematician. The young William Jones was a linguistic prodigy, learning Greek, Latin, Persian, Arabic and the basics of Chinese writing at an early age. By the end of his life he knew thirteen languages thoroughly and another twenty-eight reasonably well, making him a hyperpolyglot.
Though his father died when he was only three, Jones was still able to go to Harrow and on to university. He graduated from University College, Oxford in 1764. Too poor, even with his award, to pay the fees, he gained a job tutoring seven-year-old Earl Spencer. He embarked on a career as a tutor and translator for the next six years. During this time he published Histoire de Nader Chah, a French translation of a work originally written in Persian done at the request of King Christian VII of Denmark who had visited Jones - who by the age of 22 had already acquired a reputation as an orientalist. This would be the first of numerous works on Persia, Turkey, and the Middle East in general.
For three years beginning in 1770 he studied law, which would eventually lead him to his life-work in India; after a spell as a circuit judge in Wales, and a fruitless attempt to resolve the issues of the American Revolution in concert with Benjamin Franklin in Paris, he was appointed to the Supreme Court of Bengal in 1783.
In the Subcontinent he was entranced by Indian culture, an as-yet untouched field in European scholarship, and founded the Asiatic Society of Bengal. Over the next ten years he would produce a flood of works on India, launching the modern study of the subcontinent in virtually every social science. He also wrote on the local laws, music, literature, botany, and geography, and made the first English translations of several important works of Indian literature.
Of all his discoveries, Jones is best known today for making and propagating the observation that Sanskrit bore a certain resemblance to classical Greek and Latin. In The Sanscrit Language (1786) he suggested that all three languages had a common root, and that indeed they may all be further related, in turn, to Gothic and the Celtic languages, as well as to Persian.
Although as early as the mid-17th century Dutchman Marcus Zuerius van Boxhorn (1612–1653) and others had been aware that Ancient Persian belonged to the same language group as the European languages, and, publishing in 1787, American colonist Jonathan Edwards Jr. demonstrated, with supporting data (which Jones lacked), that Algonquian and Iroquoian language families (families not merely languages) were related, it was Jones' discovery that caught the imagination of later scholars and became the semi-mythical origin of modern historical comparative linguistics.