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Encyclopedia > Simon Ockley

Simon Ockley (1678 - August 9, 1720), was a British Orientalist.


Ockley was born at Exeter. He was educated at Queens' College, Cambridge, and graduated B.A. in 1697, MA. in 1701, and B.D. in 1710; he became fellow of Jesus College and vicar of Swavesey, and in 1711 was chosen Arabic professor of the university. He had a large family, and his latter days were embittered by pecuniary embarrassments, which form the subject of a chapter in Isaac D'Israeli's Calamities of Authors.

The preface to the second volume of his History of the Saracens is dated from Cambridge Castle, where he lay a prisoner for debt.

Ockley maintained that a knowledge of Oriental literature was essential to the proper study of theology, and in the preface to his first book, the Introductio ad linguas orientates (1706), he urges the importance of the study.

He died at Swavesey.


  • The History of the Saracens, is his main work. It was published in two volumes, 1708-1718, and long enjoyed a great reputation; unfortunately Ockley took as his main authority a MS. in the Bodleian of Pseudo-Al-Waqidi's Futúh al-Shám, which is rather historical romance than history.
  • A translation of Leon Modena's History of the Persian Jews throughout the World 1707.
  • The Improvement of Human Reason, exhibited in the Life of Hai Ebn Yokdhan, a philosophical fiction work by Ibn Tufayl 1708.
  • Translated from Arabic the Second Book of Esdras
  • Translated from Arabic the Sentences of AH (??).


  • Simon Oackly article from the 1911 Encyclopedia (http://64.1911encyclopedia.org/O/OC/OCKLEY_SIMON.htm)
  • Full Text of "History of the Saracens" (http://www.dinsdoc.com/ockley-1-0.htm)



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