Ravis, Christian

, a learned orientalist, was born at Berlin, in 1613, and alter studying for eight years at Rostock and other foreign schools, he came to Oxford in 1638, about which time he addressed a letter to archbishop Usher, who, conceiving a high opinion of him, gave him an invitation to Dublin, with offers of preferment. In the mean time becoming likewise known to Grotius, the latter, unknown to archbishop Usher, introduced him to cardinal Richelieu, who offered to employ him as his agent in the east. Ravins, however, pleaded his pre-engagement to the English nation, and especially to Usher; and the cardinal, with great liberality, admitted his motive, and dismissed him with a handsome present. He then, under the patronage of Usher, began his travels in the East, but fortunately for himself, arrived at Constantinople with a strong recommendation from archbishop Laud; for, according to Dr. Pocock’s account, who was then in that city, Ravius “came thither, without either cloaths befitting him (of which he said he had been robbed in France) or money, or letters of credit to any merchant. He had letters of recommendation from some of the states to the Dutch ambassador, who was departed before his arrival. Sir Sackville Crow, the English ambassador, finding that he brought the archbishop’s recommendation, generously took him into his house and protection, and gave him all due furtherance; requiring of him that, if occasion so present itself, England may enjoy the benefit of what time he shall here employ in the study of the eastern tongues. His desire,” Dr. Pocock adds, “seems to be, to be employed in setting forth books in the Arabic language, and to be overseer of the press in that kind, for which he would be very fitting.

In 1639, archbishop Usher wrote a Latin letter to him, with a promise of <24. a-year towards his support and on his return with a large treasure of Mss. to the number of three hundred, Usher rewarded and supported him with great liberality. Ravius now settled in England, and in 1642 resided at Gresham college, and afterwards at London house, Aldersgate-street, and in both places taught the Eastern languages. During the following year he went | to Holland, and was appointed professor of the oriental languages at Utrecht, which has procured him a place among the learned men of Utrecht in Burman’s “Trajectum Eruditum.” In 1648, we find him again in England, where, in compliance with the ruling powers, he took the covenant, and even became a rival to Dr. Pocock in the Arabic professorship, but failed in this design. He then went to Sweden, and became professor of oriental literature at Upsal; but a large family and the scanty salary of his professorship obliged him to go to Kiel in Germany, where he lived comfortably until his death in 1677.

The writings of this learned scholar were; 1. “Panegyrica3 orationes dua? de linguis Orientalibus,Utrecht, 1643, 4to. 2. “Obtestatio ad universam Europam pro discendis rebus et linguis orientalibus,” ibid. 1644, fol. 3. “Ortographice et analogic, vulgo etymologise, Ebraicse delineatio, &c.” Amst. 1646, fol. 4. “A Grammar of the Hebrew, Chaldaic, Syriac, Arabic, and Samaritan,” Lond. 1648, 8vo. 5. “De Dudaim Rubenis dissertatio philologica,” Upsal, 1655, 8vo. 6. “Annotationes in versus postrernos Geneseos capitis XXX,” ibid, 1655, 8vo. 7. “Apollonius Pergaeus ex versioue Arabica, Latine,” Kolon. 1661, 8vo. 8. “Versio nova in caput quartum Geneseos,” ibid. 1664, 8vo. 9. “Versio Latina ex Hebraeo sex priorum capitum Geneseos, &c.” ibid. 1665, 8vo. 10. “Chronologiae infallibilis de annis Christi, &c. demonstrationes,” ibid. 166.9, reprinted 1670, fol. 11. “Synopsis Chronologiae Biblicae,Berlin, 1670, fol. 12. “Orbis Hieraticus Levitarum, &c.” ibid. 1670, fol. 13. “Excussio discussionis ineptse Abrahami Calovii,” Upsal, 1671, fol. 14. “Disputatio Chronologica de plenitudine temporis Christi in came a priori deducta,” Francfort, 1673, 4to. 15. “Triginta arcana Biblica contestantia aeram Christi anno mundi 4041, non 4000 ut Calovius docet,” ibid, 1675, fol.

He had a brother, John Ravius, who was professor of philosophy at Rostock, and the author of a commentary on Cornelius Nepos, and some other works. 1


Ath. Ox. vol. II. Twells’s Life of Pocock, p. H. Burman’s Traj. Erud. Usher’s Life and Letters.