Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography/Robinson, Edward

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search

ROBINSON, Edward, biblical scholar, b. in Southington, Conn., 10 April, 1794; d. in New York city, 27 Jan., 1863. He was brought up on a farm, taught at East Haven and Farmington in 1810-'11, entered Hamilton college, where his uncle, Seth Norton, was a professor, and was graduated in 1816. After studying law for a few months, he returned to the college as tutor in mathematics and Greek, and while there married a daughter of Samuel Kirkland. His wife died within a year. In 1821 he went to Andover to superintend the publication of an edition of Homer's “Iliad,” with selected notes. He there began the study of Hebrew, aided Prof. Moses Stuart in the preparation of the second edition of the latter's “Hebrew Grammar” (Andover, 1823), and in 1823-'6 was his assistant, and for a part of the time his substitute, in the chair of sacred literature in the theological seminary. In 1826 he went to Germany, and pursued philological studies at Halle and Berlin. He married the daughter of Prof. Ludwig Heinrich von Jakob, of Halle, in 1828, and after travelling through Europe returned home in 1830, and was appointed extraordinary professor of sacred literature in Andover seminary. In 1831 he began the publication of the “Biblical Repository,” which he edited for four years. After spending three years in Boston, engaged on a scriptural Greek lexicon, he accepted in 1837 the chair of biblical literature in Union theological seminary. New York city. He explored Palestine in 1838 with the Rev. Eli Smith, and in 1839-'40 remained in Berlin to digest his notes and verify his discoveries. This work gave the first impetus to modern biblical research. He returned to the duties of his professorship, and in 1843 edited the first volume of the “Bibliotheca Sacra,” into which was merged the “Biblical Repository.” He revisited Jerusalem in 1852, being again accompanied by the Rev. Dr. Smith. He began in 1856 the revision of his works on scriptural geography, but did not live to complete it. His biblical library and maps were purchased after his death for Hamilton college, with the exception of many volumes that he had given to Union theological seminary. He received the degree of D. D. from Dartmouth in 1832, and from the University of Halle in 1842, that of LL. D. from Yale in 1844, and received a gold medal from the London royal geographical society in 1842. While associated with Prof. Stuart, he assisted in making a translation of George B. Winer's “Greek Grammar of the New Testament” (Andover, 1825). He published independently a “Greek and English Lexicon of the New Testament” (1825), based on the “Clavis Philologica” of Christian A. Wahl; revised Augustine Calmet's “Dictionary of the Bible” (Boston, 1832); translated from the German Philip Buttman's “Greek Grammar” (1833); compiled a “Dictionary of the Holy Bible for the Use of Schools and Young Persons” (Boston, 1833); prepared a “Harmony of the Gospels in Greek” (Andover, 1834); translated from the Latin of Wilhelm Gesenius the “Hebrew Lexicon of the Old Testament, including the Biblical Chaldee” (Boston, 1836; 5th ed., with corrections and additions, 1854); and produced a “Greek and English Lexicon of the New Testament” (Boston, 1836; last revision, New York, 1850), a work which superseded his translation of Wahl's work, became a standard authority in the United States, and was several times reprinted in Great Britain. The fruit of his first survey of Palestine and historical study of scriptural topography was “Biblical Researches in Palestine, Mt. Sinai, and Arabia Petræa, a Journal of Travels in 1838, by E. Robinson and E. Smith, undertaken in reference to Biblical Geography” (Boston and London, 1841; German translation, Halle, 1841). It was recognized in all countries as the most valuable contribution to biblical geography and archæology that had appeared since the days of Hadrian Reland, and incited other students to enter this then neglected field of investigation. A second “Harmony of the Four Gospels in Greek” (Boston, 1845) was followed by a “Harmony of the Gospels in English” (Boston, 1846; London, 1847); also in French (Brussels, 1851). After his second journey in the East Dr. Robinson published “Later Biblical Researches in Palestine and the Adjacent Regions : a Journal of Travels in the Year 1852, by Edward Robinson, Eli Smith, and others, drawn up from the Original Diaries, with Historical Illustrations” (Boston and London, 1856; German translation, Berlin, 1856). Revised editions of the Greek and English “Harmonies,” edited by Matthew B. Riddle, were published in 1885 and 1886. A “Memoir of Rev. William Robinson, with some Account of his Ancestors in this Country” (printed privately, New York, 1859), is a sketch of his father, who for forty-one years was pastor of the Congregational church in Southington, Conn. Dr. Robinson's last work, “Physical Geography of the Holy Land,” a supplement to his “Biblical Researches,” was edited by Mrs. Robinson (New York and London, 1865). See “The Life, Writings, and Character of Edward Robinson,” by Henry B. Smith and Roswell D. Hitchcock (New York, 1863). — His wife, Therese Albertina Louise von Jakob, author, b. in Halle, Germany, 26 Jan., 1797; d. in Hamburg, Germany, 13 April, 1869, went in 1807 to Russia with her father, who held high posts under the government, and returned to Halle in 1816. In Russia she acquired an intimate knowledge of the Slavic languages and literature, and wrote her first poems. After her return to Germany she translated Walter Scott's “Old Mortality” and “Black Dwarf,” which she published under the pen-name of “Ernst Berthold” (Halle, 1822). All her other works were signed “Talvi,” an anagram formed from the initials of her maiden name. She wrote many original tales, some of which were collected in a volume bearing the title of “Psyche” (1825). A German translation of the popular songs of the Servians was issued under the title of “Volkslieder der Serben” (Halle, 1826; new ed., Leipsic, 1853). After her arrival in the United States, she translated into German John Pickering's work “On the Adoption of a Uniform Orthography for the Indian Languages of North America” (Leipsic, 1834). Her other works in the German language that were published during her residence in this country are “Characteristic der Volkslieder germanischen Nationen” (Leipsic, 1840); “Die Unechtheit der Lieder Ossians” (1840); “Aus der Geschichte der ersten Ansiedelungen in den Vereinigten Staaten,” comprising a history of John Smith (1845); “Die Colonisation von Neu England” (1847), which was imperfectly translated into English by William Hazlitt, Jr.; and three tales that were originally published in Leipsic and translated into English by her daughter, appearing under the titles of “Heloise, or the Unrevealed Secret” (New York, 1850); “Life's Discipline: a Tale of the Annals of Hungary” (1851); and “The Exiles” (1853), which last was republished as “Woodhill, or the Ways of Providence” (1856). She contributed occasional essays in English on the subjects that engaged her study to the “North American Review,” the “Biblical Repository,” and other American periodicals. One series of articles was reissued in book-form under the title of “Historical View of the Languages and Literature of the Slavic Nations, with a Sketch of their Popular Poetry” (New York and London, 1850). After the death of her husband, Mrs. Robinson resided in Hamburg, where her son, Edward, was American consul. Her last work was published in the United States under the title of “Fifteen Years, a Picture from the Last Century” (New York, 1870). A collection of her tales, with her biography by her daughter, was published (2 vols., Leipsic, 1874).