- Butrus al-Bustani
Butrus al-Bustani (بطرس البستاني) (1883-1819) was a notable
Arabicwriter and scholar from present day Lebanon.
Al-Boustani was born to a
Maronite Christianfamily in the village of Dibbiyein the Choufregion, in January 1819. He received primary education in the village school, where he attracted the attention of his teacher, Father Mikhail al-Boustani, because of his keen intelligence that he showed brilliantly. The latter recommended him to the Bishop of Sidonand Beiteddine, Abdullah al-Boustani, who sent him at the age of 11 to the school at ‘Ayn Warqa, the most famous school of that period, to continue his studies there. At 'Ayn Waraqa he learned Syriac and Latin.
He spent ten years there and learned several foreign languages including French, Italian and English.
While working to translate the Bible, Al-Bustani learned Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek, and perfected Syriac and Latin.
In Beirut he came into contact with the American Protestant missionaries with whom he worked closely until his death on May 1, 1883.
In the social, national and political spheres, he founded associations with a view to forming a national élite and launched a series of appeals for unity in his magazine Nafir Suriya.ref|Elite
In the educational field, he taught in the schools of the Protestant missionaries at ‘Ubey before founding his own National School in 1863 on secular principles. At the same time, he compiled and published several school textbooks and dictionaries to become known famously as the Master and Father of the Arabic Renaissance.ref|Elite
In the cultural/scientific fields, he published a fortnightly review, two daily newspapers and an encyclopedia Al-Muhit al Muhit (The ocean of oceans), the first Arabic encyclopedia. In addition to these activities, he began work, together with Drs
Eli Smithand Cornelius Van Dyckof the American Mission, on a translation of the Bible into Arabic known as the Smith-Van Dyketranslation.ref|Translation
He is best known for creating the first modern Arabic
encyclopedia, Muhit al Muhit (The ocean of oceans), and founding the National School in Beirut.
His prolific output and groundbreaking work led the creation of modern Arabic expository prose. While educated by westerners and a strong advocate of western technology, he was a fierce nationalist, playing a decisive role in formulating the principles of
Works on Education
*'Discourse on Education Given at the National School.' In: "Al-Jinan" (Beirut), no. 3, 1870.
*'The National School.' In: "Al-Jinan" (Beirut), no. 18, 1873.
*'Discourse on Science among the Arabs', Beirut, 15 February 1859.
*'Discourse on the Education of Women', given in 1849 at the meeting of members of the Syrian Association and published in the "Actes de l'Association syrienne", Beirut, 1852.
*'Discourse on Social Life', Beirut, 1869.
*Boutros al-Boustani. "Textes choises". With a commentary by
Fouad Ephrem al-Boustani. Beirut, Publications de l'Institut des Lettres Orientales, 1950. (Collection Al Rawai')
*The writings and speeches of Boutros el-Boustani, either in published or manuscript form, are preserved in the 'Yafeth' Library at the American University of Beirut and available to readers and researchers.
# [http://wwwlb.aub.edu.lb/~webjafet/about/librariesmaps/beginning.htm Notes from the website of the American University of Beirut]
# [http://www.ibe.unesco.org/publications/ThinkersPdf/boustane.pdf Prospects: the quarterly review of comparative education(Paris, UNESCO: International Bureau of Education), vol. XXIII, no. 1/2, 1993, p. 125-133.]
# [http://www.britannica.com/eb/article-9018296/Butrus-al-Bustani#176488.hook Britannica article]
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