John William Donaldson, an English scholar, born in London, June 10, 1811, died there, Feb. 10, 1861. He was educated at the university of London and at Trinity college, Cambridge, where he graduated in 1834, and was made a fellow in 1835. After being some time assistant tutor there, he took orders and became head master of the grammar school of Bury St. Edmund's. In 1855 he resigned, and removed to Cambridge, where he gave a course of lectures on Latin synonymes, and occupied himself with private teaching and writing. In 1856 he was appointed one of the classical examiners of the university of London. In 1860 he travelled for his health in Germany, but returned without improvement, and removed to London, where he resided until his death. His most celebrated work is "The New Cratylus" (1839; 3d and enlarged ed., 1859), which was the first attempt on a largo scale in England to bring out the principles of comparative philology established by German scholars. His Varronianus (1844) undertook to accomplish for Latin philology what " The New Cratylus" had done for Greek. "The Theatre of the Greeks," his earliest work, is still used as a college text book.
He also published grammars of the Greek, Latin, and Hebrew languages, editions of Pindar, and the " Antigone " of Sophocles, and was engaged on a new Greek lexicon when his health failed. He also wrote Jashar, Fragmenta Archetypa Carminum Hebraicorum (Berlin, 1854; London, 1860), an attempt to restore the "Book of Jasher," alluded to in the Scriptures, and "Christian Orthodoxy" (London, 1857).