John Wilson (historian)

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John Wilson (born 8 June 1799, Kilmarnock district, Scotland; died 22 January 1870, Brighton, England; reported as being "in his 70th year" by The Brighton Times on 29 January 1870[1]) was one of the ideological architects of British Israelism, along with 16th-century French magistrate M. Lelayer, Dean Jakob Abbadie (1654?–1727), and Sharon Turner (1768–1847), the eminent London attorney, who was Wilson's contemporary.

Wilson commenced studying at great length in the Library of Trinity College, Dublin, in 1837. Within a year, he was giving a series of lectures, which developed an audience. In 1840, he published Our Israelitish Origin, a book of his lectures, in which he claimed that the peoples of Israel had made their way across the continent of Europe to the British Isles. He brought evidence to bear from Ptolemy and works by Diodorus, supporting the earlier history of the Israelites. He studied the works of Rawlinson, Herodotus, and Josephus, and quoted extensively from Sharon Turner.

His lectures attracted the attention of, among others, Charles Piazzi Smyth, Astronomer Royal for Scotland and one of the first Pyramidologists.

It was in Wilson's house in St Pancras, London, that the Anglo-Israel Association was founded in 1874.

On the death of Wilson's daughter in 1904, his manuscripts passed into the possession of Rev. A. B. Grimaldi.[2]

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References[edit]

  1. ^ Boase, F., Modern English biography, 6 vols, 1892-1921
  2. ^ A. B. G., 'John Wilson MSS', Notes and Queries s11-I: 24 (1910), p. 464