HINCKS, Edward

HINCKS, Edward. Cork 19.8.1792 — Killyleagh, county Down 3.12.1866. Rev. Irish Priest and Oriental Scholar. The eldest son of the Presbyterian minister and naturalist Thomas Dix H. (1767–1857), whose father came in 1767 from Chester to Dublin, and Anne Boult. Educated at home and at Middleton College in Cork, from 1807 studies at Trinity College in Dublin, B.A. 1812, Junior Fellow 1813, M.A. 1817, worked as librarian. Ordained 1817. After a while, 1819-25 as Rector of Ardtrea in Armagh, spent the rest of his life, 1825-66 as Rector of Killyleagh. B.D. 1823, D.D. 1829. He was poor and depended on books sent by his friends. On the other hand he enjoyed in controversy and quarreled e.g. with Brugsch and Rawlinson. Because of the statement given by the latter he did not get the post in British Museum planned for him. Married 1823 Jane Dorothea Boyd, four daughters.

Of Oriental languages Hincks only knew Hebrew, but he was a skilled cryptograph and made important work in deciphering. In 1846 he showed the syllabic principle of Elamite and Akkadian cuneiform (li+ip>lip). Independently of Rawlinson he noted the influence of following wovel on Old Persian consonant signs. In 1849-52 he established the syllabic structure of Akkadian, against the then fashionable alphabet hypothesis. Some of his theories were belated, even wrong, but nevertheless he was an important pioneer. He was also known as an Egyptologist.

His father was also Greek and Oriental scholar, for a while Professor of Oriental Languages at Belfast. Of his brothers, William (1794–1871) was Professor of Natural History at Toronto University College and Francis (1807–1885) Canadian politician and Governor of Barbados.

Publications: Articles on Demotic texts (Dublin Univ. review 1833) and Egyptology (Transactions of Royal Irish Academy 1847, 1859, etc.).

Cuneiform studies: on Old Persian and Elamite 1846; on “Armenian” 1846; two articles on Akkadian in Literary Gazette 1846; a review of the decipherment in Dublin University Magazine 1847; on Akkadian inscription of Sargon (Literary Gazette 1848) and Sennacherib (Transactions of Royal Irish Academy 1849); on Khorsabad inscriptions, ibid. 1850 & 1852.

On Akkadian language: On pronouns in Transactions of Royal Irish Academy 1854; on verbs in Journal of Sacred Literature 1855-56; Grammatical notes in JRAS 1866.

On Assyrian mythology, 1855.

The Correspondence of Edward Hincks: 1818–1849. Ed. by K. J. Cathcart. 1. Dublin 2007.

Sources: *C. Adler, PAOS for 1888 in JAOS 13, 1889, ccxvi-ccci & 14, 1890, ci-civ, with bibliography; *M.L. Bierbrier, Oxford D.N.B. 2004; *bibliography by K.J. Cathcart & P. Donlon, Orientalia 52, 1983, 325-356; K.J. Cathcart, D.I.B. 4, 708f.; *E.F. Davidson (ed.), E.H. A selection from his correspondence. 8+274 p. L. 1933 (cf. JRAS 1934, 597f.); Dawson & Uphill, Who Was Who in Egyptology. Rev. 2nd ed. 1972; Gosche, Wiss. Jahresber. zu ZDMG 1862-67, 53-55; S.L[ane]-P[oole], D.N.B. 26, 1891, 438f.; JRAS Annual Report 1867, xixf.; Wikipedia with portrait.

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