Sir Ernest Alfred Wallis Thomson Budge
Keeper of Egyptian and Assyrian Antiquities at the British
Museum, 1892-1924, and an expert on Eastern Christianity
as well. He has been relentlessly criticised as an imperialist
in recent years, and all but expunged from the British
Museum's official memory -- a formidable task, given his
earlier prominence -- but these attacks should perhaps
be viewed with scepticism. Sir Ernest was more sympathetic
to ancient and indigenous traditional views of history
than almost any of his contemporaries, and his writings
seem at times to have been written by a mediæval,
rather than a modern, polymath. He is responsible for the
availability in English of many Coptic, Ge'ez,
and Syriac texts, including
what was long the best and almost only collection of
desert ascetic literature, The Paradise of the
Fathers; the only widely-available (although "widely"
is perhaps an overstatement) XX Century translation of the
Kebra Negast; and fascinating collections of Ethiopic
Marian spirituality. His history of Ethiopia and Nubia,
relying on traditional accounts rather than supposed
achievements of modern reconstruction, is as such of unique value,
and for an "imperialist" he seems to have been astonishingly
devoid of racism. May his memory be eternal, and whatever
sins he may have committed be overlooked.
---Norman Hugh Redington
Under construction --- far from complete! Read with caution.
- R. A. Lobban:
Historical Dictionary of Ancient and
Medieval Nubia, p. 83.
E. A. Wallis Budge.
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