The position of Laudian Professor of Arabic at the University of Oxford was established in 1636 by William Laud, who at the time was Chancellor of the University of Oxford and Archbishop of Canterbury. The first professor was Edward Pococke, who was working as a chaplain in Aleppo in what is now Syria when Laud asked him to return to Oxford to take up the position. Laud's university regulations provided that the professor's lectures were to be attended by all medical students and bachelors of arts at the university, although this seems not to have happened since Pococke had few students. In 1881, a university statute provided that the professor was to lecture in "the Arabic, Syriac, and Chaldee Languages", and attached the professorship to a fellowship at St John's College. Successive professors had few students until after the Second World War, when numbers increased because of the reputation of Sir Hamilton Gibb and because some British students became interested in Arabic culture while serving in the Middle East during the war. The current holder, Julia Bray, was appointed in 2012 and is the first woman to hold the position.
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... Name Professor Education College as Professor Notes Pococke, EdwardEdward Pococke 1636–1691 Oxford, Magdalen HallMagdalen Hall and Corpus Christi College Corpus Christi ... Pococke was appointed Regius Professor of Hebrew in 1648, but his refusal to promise loyalty to the Commonwealth of England led to the parliamentary committee supervising the university to order his ... drudgery of daily attendance in all times and weathers") and was also Regius Professor of Hebrew from 1697 ...
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