Edward Robinson (scholar)

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Edward Robinson
Edward Robinson.JPG
Born April 10, 1794
Southington, Connecticut
Died January 27, 1863
New York City

Edward Robinson (April 10, 1794 – January 27, 1863) was an American biblical scholar, known as the “Father of Biblical Geography.” He has been referred to as the “founder of modern Palestinology.”[1]


Robinson was born in Southington, Connecticut and raised on a farm. He taught at East Haven and Farmington in 1810-11. He then attended Hamilton College, Clinton, N. Y., where his uncle, Seth Norton, was a professor.[2] He graduated in 1816, and in 1821 went to Andover, Massachusetts, to publish his edition of books i-ix, xviii and xix of the Iliad. There he aided Moses Stuart in the preparation of the second edition (1823) of the latter's Hebrew Grammar, and rendered into English (1825) Wahl's Clavis Philologica Novi Testamenti. After European study, largely in Halle and Berlin (1826–30), he returned to the United States where he was made professor extraordinary of sacred literature at Andover Theological Seminary (1830–33).[3]

In 1828, he married the German writer Therese Albertine Luise Robinson.

Robinson was the founder of the Biblical Repository (1831), which he edited for four years.[2] He also established the Bibliotheca Sacra (1843) into which was merged the Biblical Repository. He spent three years in Boston working on a scriptural Greek lexicon.[2] Illness caused him to move to New York City where he was professor of biblical literature in Union Theological Seminary from 1837 until his death.

Exploration of Palestine[edit]

Robinson's arch, on the south-western flank of the Temple Mount, once supported a staircase which led to the temple.

Robinson traveled to Palestine in 1838 in the company of Rev. Eli Smith, leading to the publication of Biblical Researches in Palestine and Adjacent Countries for which he was awarded the Gold Medal of the Royal Geographical Society in 1842.[1] He was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1847.[4] Robinson, together with Smith, made scores of identifications of ancient places,[1] including the tunnel dug by Hezekiah shortly before the Assyrian siege of Jerusalem in 701/02 BCE, though the inscription at the southern end of the tunnel was to be found later. Robinson's Arch in the Old City of Jerusalem is named after him. They returned for further investigations in 1852. Perhaps the triumph of bringing out- in the same year (1836)- a translation of Gesenius’s Hebrew Lexicon and a Greek New Testament Lexicon were labors no less dear to Robinson than his simultaneous German and English printings of Biblical Researches and its enlarged (1856) edition. The two former were sufficient to firmly establish his scholarship; he said in the preface of the Greek Lexicon, "The two works together embrace the lexicography of the whole of the original Scriptures". Yet the latter three publications created his enduring reputation as a “Founder” by setting the compass of future archaeological field work. Among those who acknowledged Robinson’s stature, in 1941 G. Ernest Wright, reviewing the pioneering survey contained in Nelson Glueck’s The Other Side of the Jordan, makes a just comparison and fitting testimonial: “Glueck’s explorations are second to none, unless it is those of Edward Robinson.” [5]

Published works[edit]

  • Dictionary of the Holy Bible for the Use of Schools and Young Persons (Boston, 1833)
  • Greek and English Lexicon of the New Testament (1836; last revision, New York, 1850), based on the Clavis Philologica Novi Testamenti of Christian A. Wahl. This work superseded his translation of Wahl's work, became a standard authority in the United States, and was several times reprinted in Great Britain.
  • Biblical Researches in Palestine and Adjacent Countries (three volumes, Boston and London, 1841; German edition, Halle, 1841; second edition, enlarged, 1856)
  • Greek Harmony of the Gospels (1845; second edition, 1851)
  • English Harmony of the Gospels (1846)
  • Memoir of Rev. William Robinson, with some Account of his Ancestors in this Country (printed privately, New York, 1859) This is a sketch of his father, who for 41 years was pastor of the Congregational church in Southington.
  • Physical Geography of the Holy Land (New York and London, 1865) This is a supplement to his Biblical Researches, and was edited by Mrs. Robinson.

Revised editions of the Greek and English “Harmonies,” edited by Matthew B. Riddle, were published in 1885 and 1886.

Robinson edited and translated:

He revised:


  1. ^ a b c James B. Pritchard (1958). Archeology and the Old Testament. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press. pp. 57–58. LCCN 5810053 Check |lccn= value (help). 
  2. ^ a b c Wikisource-logo.svg Wilson, James Grant; Fiske, John, eds. (1900). "Robinson, Edward". Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography. New York: D. Appleton. 
  3. ^ Wikisource-logo.svg Rines, George Edwin, ed. (1920). "Robinson, Edward (scholar)". Encyclopedia Americana. 
  4. ^ "Book of Members, 1780-2010: Chapter R". American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved April 10, 2011. 
  5. ^ Quoted in T.W. Davis (2004). Shifting Sands, Oxford and NY: Oxford University Press. p. 102.


External links[edit]