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BROWN, WILLIAM:

Scottish clergyman; born 1766; died 1835; for forty-three years minister of Eskdalemuir, Scotland. He is the author of "Antiquities of the Jews Carefully Compiled from Authentic Sources, and Their Customs Illustrated from Modern Travels," in two volumes, with a map showing the ground-plan of the Temple (London, 1820; 2d edition, Edinburgh, 1826). The work is compiled mostly from Latin, French, and English sources, such as Arius Montanus' "Aaron," Calmet's dictionary, Goodwin's "Moses and Aaron," Owen's "Exercitation on the Hebrews," Buxtorf's "De Synagoga Judaica," and Basnage's history. He borrowed much from Dr. Lightfoot's "Prospect of the Temple" and "Temple Services," but states in the preface of his work that he takes "a wider range than Dr. Lightfoot, who professes to despise rabbinical learning."

For the improvements in the second edition Brown used Surenhusius' Latin translation of the Mishnah and several additional treatises by Maimonides and Abravanel, also from Latin translations; for his familiarity with Hebrew seems to have been very limited. The work is of more interest to the bibliographer than to the student.

Bibliography:
  • Dictionary of National Biography, vii. 36.
T. P. Wi.
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