Robert Payne Smith, an English orientalist, born in Gloucestershire in November, 1818. He graduated at Pembroke college, Oxford, in 1841, took orders, was curate of Trinity church and master of the academy in Edinburgh, and subsequently was head master of the proprietary school in Kensington. In 1857 he was appointed sub-librarian of the Bodleian library, with special charge of the oriental manuscripts. In 1805 he was made canon of Christ church, Oxford, and regius professor of divinity in the university. Since 1871 he has been dean of Canterbury. He has published annotated copies and English versions of Syriac manuscripts, including " Cyril of Alexandria's Commentary on St. Luke's Gospel" (4to, Oxford, 1858; English version, 2 vols. 8vo, 1859) and " Ecclesiastical History of John of Ephesus " (8vo, 1860). He has also published a Latin " Catalogue of the Syriac MSS. in the Bodleian Library" (4to, 1864), "Authenticity and Messianic Interpretation of the Prophecies of Isaiah" (8vo, 1862), and "Prophecy a Preparation for Christ" (Bampton lectures for 1809). In 1873 he prepared a paragraphic Bible for the society for promoting Christian knowledge.

In 1874 he was understood to be preparing a commentary on Jeremiah, for the "Speaker's Commentary," and was engaged upon the Thesaurus Syriacus, of which up to 1872 two parts had been published.