John Dowson M.R.A.S.(1820 – 1881) was a British orientalist. A noted scholar of Hinduism, he taught in India for much of his life. His book Classical Dictionary of Hindu Mythology remains one of the most comprehensive and authoritative works on the topic.
Dowson's duties as professor suggested his Grammar of the Urdu or Hindustani Language (1862), and he also translated one of the tracts of the Ikhwānu-s-Safa, or Brotherhood of Purity. His major work was the The History of India, as Told by Its Own Historians. The Muhammadan Period, which he edited from the papers of Henry Miers Elliot, in eight volumes (1867–77). He compiled the Classical Dictionary of Hindu Mythology and Religion, History and Literature (1879), and contributed to the Encyclopædia Britannica and the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society. His theory of the Invention of the Indian Alphabet met with little support.