Rhys Davids, T. W.

views updated

Rhys Davids, T. W. (1843–1922). Influential promoter of Pāli Buddhist studies in England.

Though not the first scholar of Pāli, he did much to introduce Buddhist ideas to the British public, and in his Hibbert Lectures of 1881 announced the foundation of the Pāli Text Society, of which he was the first chairman.

His vast output of work can be conveniently classified under the three headings of translation, history, and philology. The principal translations include Vinaya Texts, with H. Oldenberg (1881–5), Dialogues of the Buddha, with his wife C. A. F. Rhys Davids (1899–1921), and Questions of King Milinda (1890–4). His historical works include Buddhism (1878) and Early Buddhism (1908), while the great labour of his final years was the compilation of a Pāli-English Dictionary, completed by W. Stede.