Edward Pococke is best known to historians today as one of seventeenth-century Europe's preeminent discoverers of Islam. This article explores three less familiar aspects of his work as a scholar of Arabic: his comparative approach to the “Oriental” languages; his interest in the Arabic translations of the Bible; and his study of Judaeo-Arabic biblical criticism. It argues that foregrounding these concerns—developed throughout the course of his long career as Laudian Professor of Arabic and Regius Professor of Hebrew at Oxford—enables Pococke's work to be situated in its more specific theological contexts. In this way, it seeks to look beyond attempts to position Pococke at the origins of a disciplinary history of modern “Arabic studies,” and to understand instead how his scholarship was intertwined with early modern theological disputes—most of all, the debate about the status of the Masoretic text of the Hebrew Bible.

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