DOZY, REINHARD PETRUS ANNE (b. Leiden, 21 February 1820, d. Leiden, 29 April 1883), Dutch orientalist renowned especially as a lexicographer of Arabic and a historian of Muslim Andalusia. He began his studies at Leiden University in 1834 with H. E. Weijers (1804-40), who introduced him to Arabic philology through the rich Warner collection of manuscripts in the university library. Dozy received a prize from the Royal Institute (later the Royal Dutch Academy of Sciences) for his first publication (Dictionnaire détaillé des noms des vêtements chez les Arabes, Leiden, 1843). In 1845 he visited libraries in Germany and England, which inspired him to launch a series of editions of Arabic texts, for which he started international fund raising. Through this initiative he gave a new impetus to all oriental studies in the Netherlands. It led to the publication of many Arabic, Persian, and Turkish texts by Dutch scholars during the second half of the 19th century. Simultaneously Dozy, together with M. J. de Goeje and others, embarked on the cataloguing of the oriental manuscripts in Leiden (Catalogus Codicum Orientalium Bibliothecae Academiae Lugduni Batavorum, 6 vols., Leiden, 1851-77). Description of the Persian manuscripts in this catalogue was entrusted to Piet de Jong and M. T. Houtsma. In 1850 Dozy was appointed to the chair of medieval history at Leiden University, and from that time on he devoted most of his attention to his pioneering study of Muslim Spain (Histoire des Musulmans d’Espagne, Leiden, 1861). During his later years, however, he returned to lexicographical research, which resulted in his two-volume Supplément aux dictionnaires arabes (Leiden, 1881), in which he assembled words and meanings found in medieval texts but missing from indigenous Arabic dictionaries. It is of lasting importance for knowledge of postclassical Arabic and includes many Persian loanwords and other materials for Persian lexicography.
J. Brugman, “Dozy, a Scholarly Life According to Plan,” in W. Otterspeer, ed., Leiden Oriental Connections 1850-1940, Leiden, 1989, pp. 62-81.
(J. T. P. de Bruijn)
Originally Published: December 15, 1995
Last Updated: November 29, 2011
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Vol. VII, Fasc. 5, p. 526