Joseph Halévy

Joseph Halévy}} __NOTOC__

Joseph Halévy (15 December 1827, in Adrianople – 21 January 1917, in Paris) was an Ottoman born Jewish-French Orientalist and traveller.

His most notable work was done in Yemen, which he crossed during 1869 to 1870 in search of Sabaean inscriptions, no European having traversed that land since AD 24; the result was a most valuable collection of 800 inscriptions.

While a teacher in Jewish schools, first in his native town and later in Bucharest, he devoted his leisure to the study of Oriental languages and archeology, in which he became proficient. In 1868 he was sent by the Alliance israélite universelle to Abyssinia to study the conditions of the Falashas. His report on that mission, which he had fulfilled with distinguished success, attracted the attention of the French Institute (Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres), which sent him to Yemen in 1870 to study the Sabaean inscriptions. Halévy returned with 686 of these, deciphering and interpreting them, and thus succeeding in reconstructing the rudiments of the Sabaean language and mythology. In 1879 Halévy became professor of Ethiopic in the École pratique des hautes études, Paris, and librarian of the Société Asiatique.

Halévy's scientific activity has been very extensive, and his writings on Oriental philology and archeology, which display great originality and ingenuity, have earned for him a worldwide reputation. He is especially known through his controversies with eminent Assyriologists concerning the non-Semitic Sumerian idiom found in the Assyro-Babylonian inscriptions. Contrary to the generally admitted opinion, Halévy put forward the theory that Sumerian is not a language, but merely an ideographic method of writing invented by the Semitic Babylonians themselves.

Halevy was a professor at the University of Paris. Provided by Wikipedia
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