Daniil Khvolson

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Khvol’son, Daniil Abramovich


(also Iosif A. Khvol’-son, Daniel Chwolson). Born Nov. 21 (Dec. 3), 1819, in Vilnius; died Mar. 23 (Apr. 5), 1911, in St. Petersburg. Russian Orientalist and Semitist. Honorary member of the St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences (1908; corresponding member, 1858).

Khvol’son studied at the University of Breslau from 1844 to 1848 and in Leipzig. He received the degree of doctor of philosophy in 1855 and was a professor at the University of St. Petersburg from 1855 to 1894. In 1858 he began teaching biblical history and Hebrew at the St. Petersburg Theological Academy.

Khvol’son’s principal works deal with the history of the Orient and of the peoples of Eastern Europe. His historical and philosophic work The Sabians and Sabianism (vols. 1–2, 1856) drew on a large number of previously unpublished Arabic texts. Khvol’-son studied and published new sources on the history of the Arabic, Hebrew, and Syrian writing systems, including the Syrian-Nestorian inscriptions found on tombstones in Semirech’e between 1886 and 1897. He published works on Assyriology, Oriental epigraphy, and ancient Hebrew grammar and phonetics. Khvol’son’s translation of the Bible into Russian fostered the development of scholarly biblical criticism in Russia.


Kokovtsov, P. K. “D. A. Khvol’son, 1819–1911: Nekrolog.” Izv. AN., series 6, 1911, no. 10.
Aziatskii muzeiLeningradskoe otdelenie In-ta Vostokovedeniia AN SSSR. Moscow, 1972.
Biograficheskii slovar’ professorov i prepodavatelei SPB un-ta, 1869–1894, vol. 2. St. Petersburg, 1898. (Contains bibliography.)
Livotova, O. E., and V. B. Portugal’. Vostokovedenie v izdanüakh AN, 1726–1917: Bibliografiia. Moscow, 1966. Numbers 1613–22.