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Cowley, Sir Arthur Ernest°


COWLEY, SIR ARTHUR ERNEST ° (1861–1931), English Orientalist and bibliographer. Cowley's main interest from his school days was Hebrew and Jewish studies, but at Oxford he studied classics and his Semitic scholarship was largely self-taught. He became A. *Neubauer's assistant in the *Bodleian Library in 1896, succeeded him in 1899, and from 1919 was himself the Bodleian's librarian. Cowley's achievements in Jewish scholarship are paleographical, bibliographical, and interpretative. He published (at first with Neubauer) recovered Hebrew portions of Ecclesiasticus (1897, 1901), and (at first with A.H. Sayce) the Assouan (*Elephantine) Jewish-Aramaic papyri (1906, 1923). He completed vol. 2 of Neubauer's catalog of Bodleian Hebrew manuscripts and produced a concise catalog of its Hebrew printed books (1929, reduced from Steinschneider's catalog). Besides the papyri, Cowley edited – as his main work – The Samaritan Liturgy (2 vols., 1909). He taught rabbinics for the university, and a lectureship at Oxford in post-biblical Hebrew commemorates his name.


T.W. Allen, in: Proceedings of the British Academy, 19 (1933), 351–9; G.R. Driver, in: dnb, 5 Supplement (1949), 194–5. add. bibliography: odnb online.

[Raphael Loewe]

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