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ISAAC TAYLOR (1829-1901)

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Originally appearing in Volume V26, Page 469 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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ISAAC TAYLOR (1829-1901), English philologist, eldest son of the preceding, was born at Stanford Rivers, 2nd May 1829. He was educated at Trinity College, Cambridge, and took the mathematical tripos in 1853. His interests, however, were linguistic rather than mathematical, and his earliest publication was a translation from the German of W. A. Becker's Charicles. Though of Nonconformist stock, Isaac Taylor joined the Church of England, and in 1857 was ordained to a country curacy. In 186o he published The Liturgy of the Dissenters, an appeal for the revision of the Book of Common Prayer " on Protestant lines," " as expedient for the material interests of the Church, and as an act of plain justice to the Dissenters." His studies in local etymology bore fruit in Words and Places in Etymological Illustration of History, Ethnology and Geography (1864). Between 1865 and 1869, when he was in charge of a Bethnal Green parish, his philological studies were laid aside, and he published only The Burden of the Poor and The Family Pen, a record of the literary work of his own family, the Taylors of Ongar. In 1869 he became incumbent of a church at Twickenham, and used his comparative leisure to produce his Etruscan Researches (1874); in which he contended for the Ugrian origin of the Etruscan language. In 1875 he was presented to the rectory of Settrington, Yorkshire, and began his systematic researches into the origin of the alphabet. His Greeks and Goths; a Study on the Runes (1879), in which he suggested that the runes were of Greek origin, led to a good deal of controversy. His most important work is The Alphabet, an Account of the Origin and Development of Letters (1883; new and revisededition 1899). Taylor points out that alphabetical changes are the result of evolution taking place in accordance with fixed laws. " Epigraphy and palaeography may claim, no less than philology or biology, to be ranked among the inductive sciences." He was largely indebted to the Egyptian researches of Rouge, which it has since become necessary to reconsider in the light of discoveries in Crete. In 1885 Taylor became canon of York, and two years later dean. His paper on the Origin of the Aryans, read at the British Association in 1887, was after-wards expanded into a book. In the following winter he visited Egypt, and his letters from there, collected under the title Leaves from an Egyptian Notebook, aroused considerable controversy from the extremely favourable view he took of the Mahommedan religion. For the last few years of his life Dean Taylor suffered from ill health, and was laid aside from active work for some time before his death in October 1901.
End of Article: ISAAC TAYLOR (1829-1901)
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