|Name Adriaan Reland|
|Died February 5, 1718, Utrecht, Netherlands|
Adriaan Reland (also known as Adriaen Reeland/Reelant, Hadrianus Relandus) (July 17, 1676, De Rijp, North Holland - February 5, 1718, Utrecht ) was a noted Dutch scholar, cartographer and philologist. and one of the early Orientalists. He is considered to have made a long-lasting and significant contribution to research of the historical geography of early Palestine.
Reland was the son of Johannes Reland, a Protestant minister, and Aagje Prins in the small North Holland village of De Rijp. Adriaan's brother, Peter (1678–1714), was an influential lawyer in Haarlem. Reeland first studied Latin language in Amsterdam at age 11 and enrolled at University of Utrecht in 1693 at age 17 to study theology and philosophy with a special interest in Hebrew and Syriac. He later began immersing himself in Arabic. After obtaining his PhD in Utrecht, he moved to Leiden where he tutored the son of Hans Willem Bentinck, later the 1st Earl of Portland. The latter invited him to move to England, but Reland declined because of his father's deteriorating health.
He was appointed professor of physics and metaphysics at the University of Harderwijk, but already in 1701,at age 25, and completely fluent in Hebrew, Arabic and other Semitic languages, he was appointed professor of Oriental languages at the University of Utrecht. In 1713, he also taught Hebrew antiquities. This was extended with a Chair in Jewish antiquity.
Reland also researched in the area which we today call comparative linguistics and gained renown for his in-depth Islamic studies and their linguistic research. He was interested in the Eastern myths in relation to the Old Testament and also studied Persian. He published a work concerning East Asian myths, Dissertationum miscellanearum partes tres (1706-1708). He discovered the link for the Malay language to the western Pacific based dictionaries written by Willem Schouten and Jacob Le Maire. He also wrote poetry.
Research on Middle East
Amongst his important works is De religione Mohammedica libri duo from 1705, and published in extended version in 1717. This work is considered by some to be the first reasonably objective and systematic description of Islamic beliefs and practices and includes Arabic texts. It quickly became a reference work throughout Europe and was translated into Dutch, English, German, French and Spanish.
Reland did indepth research on the Middle Eastern locations and biblical geography and went on to write additional works dealing with the Semitic peoples of the region of Palestine. He published Antiquitates Sacrae veterum Hebraeorum (1708) and Palaestina ex monumentis Veteris illustrata (1714), in which he describes and maps in detail the geography of Palestine, based mainly on ancient sources.
Reland retained his professorship his whole life, dying in 1718 in Utrecht, of smallpox at the age of 41.