Durell, David

, a learned divine, and biblical critic, of the church of England, was a native of the island of Jersey, and probably a descendant of the preceding Dr. John Durel. That the Durells were a very respectable family in Jersey is evident from there being several persons of the name who received considerable promotions both in that island and in England during the reign of king George the Second. He was born in 1728, and after going through a proper course of grammatical education, was matriculated at the university of Oxford, and became a member of Pembroke college, where, on the 20th of June, 1753, he took the degree of master of arts. After this, he was chosen a fellow of Hertford college, and was admitted principal of the same, in 1757, in the room of Dr. William Sharp, who resigned that office, and was afterwards regius professor of Greek in the university, and rector of East-Hampstead in Berks. On the 23d of April, 1760, Mr. Durell took the degree of bachelor in divinity, and that of Doctor on the 14th of January, 1764. Previously to the taking his last degree, he published, in 1763, his first learned work, entitled, “The Hebrew text of the parallel prophecies of Jacob and Moses, relating to the Twelve Tribes; with a translation and notes: and the various lections of near forty Mss. To which are added, | 1. The Samaritan Arabic version of those passages, and part of another Arabic version made from the Samaritan text, neither of which have been before printed. 2. A map of the Land of Promise. 3. An Appendix, containing four dissertations on points connected with the subject of these prophecies,Oxford, 4to. In this work our author exhibited a valuable and decisive proof of his skill in Oriental literature, and of his capacity and judgment in elucidating the sacred Scriptures. In 1767, he was made a prebendary of Canterbury, in the room of Dr. Potter, who had resigned. The only remaining preferment, which Dr. Durell appears to have been possessed of, was the vicarage of Tysehurst in Sussex. In 1772, he gave a farther evidence of his great proficiency in biblical learning, by publishing “Critical remarks on the books of Job, Psalms, Ecclesiastes, and Canticles,Oxford, 4to, printed at the Clarendon press. In the preface to this performance, the author pleads for a new translation of the Bible. He intended to publish some remarks on the prophetic writings; but this design he was prevented from accomplishing, by his comparatively premature death, which happened when he was only forty-seven years of age. He died at his college, on the 19th of October, 1775, and was buried at St. Peter’s in the East, Oxford, where there is an inscription on his grave-stone, with his arms. By his last will, he bequeathed twenty pounds a-year, arising from money by him lent for the building of Oxford-market; one half of which sum is given to the principal of Hertford college; the other, to the two senior fellows. From all that we have heard concerning Dr. DurelPs character, we understand him to have been a gentleman of eminent piety and goodness. 1


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