1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Schultens

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SCHULTENS, the name of three Dutch Orientalists. The first and most important, Albert Schultens (1686-1750), was born at Groningen. He studied for the church at Groningen and Leiden, applying himself specially to Hebrew and the cognate tongues. His dissertation on The Use of Arabic in the Interpretation of Scripture appeared in 1706. After a visit to Reland in Utrecht he returned to Groningen (1708); then, having taken his degree in theology (1709), he again went to Leiden, and devoted himself to the study of the MS. collections there till in 1711 he became pastor at Wassenaer. Disliking parochial work, in 1713 he took the Hebrew chair at Franeker, which he held till 1729, when he was transferred to Leiden as rector of the collegium theologicum, or seminary for poor students. From 1732 till his death (at Leiden on the 26th of January 1750) he was professor of Oriental languages at Leiden. Schultens was the chief Arabic teacher of his time, and in some sense a restorer of Arabic studies, but he differed from J. J. Reiske and A. I. De Sacy in mainly regarding Arabic as a handmaid to Hebrew. He vindicated the value of comparative study of the Semitic tongues against those who, like Gousset, regarded Hebrew as a sacred tongue with which comparative philology has nothing to do. His principal works were Origines Hebraeae (2 vols., 1724, 1738), a second edition of which, with the De defectibus linguae Hebraeae (1731), appeared in 1761; Job (1737); Proverbs (1748); Vetus et regia via hebraezandi (1738); Monumenta vetustiora Arabum (1740), &c.

His son, John James Schultens (1716-1778), became professor at Herborn in 1742, and afterwards succeeded to his father's chair. He was in turn succeeded by his son, Henry Albert Schultens (1749-1793), who, however, left comparatively little behind him, having succumbed to excessive work while preparing an edition of Meidani, of which only a part appeared posthumously (1795).