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Barnett, Lionel David


BARNETT, LIONEL DAVID (1871–1960), British Orientalist. Barnett, who was born in Liverpool, was keeper of the department of Oriental printed books and manuscripts at the British Museum from 1908 to 1936. He was an authority on Indian literature, and lectured in Indian history at the London University School of Oriental and African Studies until 1946. He wrote Antiquities of India (1913) and Hindu Gods and Heroes (1922), and his translations included A History of Greek Drama (1900) and, from the Sanskrit, Brahma-Knowledge (1907). Barnett was an elder of the Spanish and Portuguese congregation in London, and in 1931 published El libro de los acuerdos, an English translation from the earliest records of the congregation, for the years 1663 to 1681. He also edited the Bevis Marks records of the contributions made to history by the congregation (2 vols., 1940–49).

Lionel Barnett's son, richard david barnett (1909–1986), like his father, made his career at the British Museum. Born in London, he began in 1932 as assistant keeper in the department of Egyptian and Assyrian antiquities and in 1955 was appointed head of the newly established department of Western Asiatic antiquities. From 1933 to 1935 he was secretary of the British School in Athens. Richard Barnett's research extended to Assyriology, the cultures of Syria, Phoenicia, and Asia Minor as well as biblical archaeology. In 1956 he organized the special exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London commemorating the tercentenary of the resettlement of Jews in the British Isles, and his catalog of the exhibition was one of his most distinguished publications. He was president of the Jewish Historical Society of England (1959–61) and contributed several important papers on the history of the Sephardim in England to its transactions. His publications include: Carchemish: Report on the Excavationsat Djerabis (vol. 3 (with Sir L. Woolley, 1952)); Catalogue of the Nimrod Ivories in the British Museum (1957); Assyrian Palace Reliefs and Their Influence on the Sculptures of Babylonia and Persia (1960); The Sculptures of Aššur-naṣir apli ii… (1962); and Illustrations of Old Testament History (1966). After his death the Jewish Historical Society of England established an annual lectureship in his honor.

add. bibliography:

R. Loewe, "In Memoriam: R.D. Barnett (1909–86)," in: jhset, 29 (1982–86), xv–xvii; "Richard David Barnett," in: odnb online.

[Penuel P. Kahane]

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