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William Henry Temple Gairdner

1873-1928. Anglican missionary and scholar. Born in Ardrossan, Scotland, he was educated at Trinity College, Oxford, and was associated with J.R. Mott* in work among British students. He went with the Church Missionary Society to Cairo in 1898, with a “special view to work among students and others of the educated classes of Moslems.” He was ordained in 1901. A gifted linguist, he broke new ground by teaching missionaries and native teachers colloquial Arabic, produced a handbook on phonetics and two textbooks on the subject, and wrote hymns, poems, plays, and popular biblical literature in Arabic. He founded an English and Arabic Christian magazine, Orient and Occident, in 1904. He collected some three hundred Near Eastern tunes for use in Christian worship. His deep study of Islamics and Arabic literature is revealed in The Reproach of Islam (1909) and The Values of Christianity and Islam (with W.A. Eddy, 1927). He worked to make the Arabic Anglican Church into a welded group of believers, to train indigenous leaders, and to improve relations with the Coptic Church.* He believed that Islam could be won by a living exemplification of Christian brotherhood. His deep awareness of beauty is seen in his love of music, poetry, and the world of nature. Zest characterized his life and his faith; he seemed to have the ability to enjoy everything intensely.