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Archibald Henry Sayce

1845-1933. Assyriologist. Born at Shirehampton, son of a vicar, he was educated at Queen's College, Oxford, where he became a fellow in 1869. Ordained and unmarried, he pursued a life of leisurely scholarship-in part a reflection of that fragile appearance which took him almost every winter from 1879 to 1908 to his “houseboat on the Nile.” He became deputy professor of comparative philosophy in 1876, and first professor of Assyriology in England from 1891 until retirement in 1919. He was a member of the OT revision company (1874-84). No literalist, he nonetheless became-with his sharp wit and realization of the importance of discoveries-a sagacious opponent of a rampant higher criticism too preoccupied with its own theories of literary formation to look again at the empirical evidence. He held that Wellhausen's Pentateuchal literary divisions were as foolish as those of Homer by F.A. Wolf, since both were based on the same error that writing had not antedated the fifth century b.c. His Reminiscences (1923) were full of insight into the early history of, and men responsible for, the rediscovery of the ancient Orient.