Sperat adversis metuit secundis alteram sortem bene praeparatum pectus. *

Hisce memoriam sui Car[issimo] D[omi]no Papai commendare voluit

David Wilkins. S[acrae] T[heologiae] P[rofessor] Cantabr[igiensis]

Ex aedibus Lambethanis


 * Horace, Carmina 2.10.13-14 (in the original: “sperat infestis…”). We quote it in the English translation by John Conington.


In sadness hope, in gladness fear / 'Gainst coming change will fortify / Your breast. *

With this I wish to recommend myself into the good memory of the dear Mr. Pápai

David Wilkins, professor of theology in Cambridge

In Lambeth Palace, on the Idus of January of 1718, by the old calendar








p. 471. [London], January 24, 1719

Wilkins, David
(1685-1745), German Anglican pastor, orientalist

David Wilkins (by his original name Wilke / Wilkius) was born in 1685 in a Prussian family. For many years he wandered throughout Europe: in Berlin he studied Coptic manuscripts, in Rome in 1710 the manuscripts of the Vatican and of the Barberini Library, then after Vienna, Paris, Amsterdam and Oxford he went to Cambridge, where in 1717 he graduated doctor of theology (D.D.). Here he became Lord Almoner's professor of Arabic, and was consacrated Anglican pastor. He was patronized by the Archbishop of Canterbury William Wake. From 1715 he was librarian of the Archiepiscopal Lambeth Palace Library – this was the first public library of England –, then from 1719 chaplain of the Archbishop. In 1721 he received the twelfth canon's prebend in the Cathedral, and in 1724 he became archdeacon in Suffolk. In 1720 he was elected fellow of the Society of Antiquaries (F.S.A.). He died on September 6, 1745 in Hadley. In the Lambeth Library he completed the catalogue of Gibson, and prepared the catalogue of the manuscripts. He made an important contribution to the study of oriental languages. He mastered Hebrew, Chaldean, Coptic, Armenian and even Anglo-Saxon, although his versatility was sometimes to the detriment of accuracy. He edited various Latin authors, the Coptic New Testament, and parts of the Coptic Old Testament. His best known book is the great historical work published in 1737. Some of his works: Targum sael Dibre haj-Jamim risonim we-aharonim = Paraphrasis Chaldaica in librum … chronicorum … Amsterdam, 1715. – Novum Testamentum Aegyptium, vulgo Copticum ex mss Bodlejanis descripsit … Oxford, 1716. – Leges Anglo-Saxonicae ecclesiasticae et civiles … London, 1721. – Concilia Magnae Britanniae et Hiberniae: a synodo Verolamiensi A.D. CCCCXLVI. ad Londinensem A.D. MDCCXVII (446-1717). London, 1737.

David Wilkins, Librarian of the Archiepiscopal Library wrote in the album of Ferenc Pápai Páriz on the same day – that is on January 13, 1718 – when the Archbishop of Canterbury William Wake (p. 469). In most countries of Europe in that day the date was January 24, 1719. Wilkins wrote his memento probably in London, in the Archiepiscopal Lambeth Palace.

• DNB • Michaud