execution sale

George Sale

George Sale (1697, Kent, England–1736, London, England) was an Orientalist and practicingsolicitor. Besides helping with this project, he was author of The General Dictionary, in ten volumes, folio, but is widely known by his translation of the Qur'an. Sale was, until his death, a member of the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge. He acquired a library with valuable rare manuscripts of Persian, Turkish, and Arabic origins (which is now held in the Bodleian library, Oxford). His family consisted of a wife and five children.


Sale was a scholar of considerable literary talent, but very few particulars have been transmitted to us by his contemporaries. He was educated at the King's School, Canterbury. In 1720, he became a student of the Inner Temple.

Sale reportedly spent 25 years in Arabia, thus acquiring his knowledge of the Arabic language and customs during this time; but evidence of dates and facts refute this, such notion are dismissed as fictions by which biography have often been encumbered and disgraced. It is known that he trained as a solicitor in his early years but took time off from his legal pursuits (returning as need to this profession). He took the time to apply himself in the study of the eastern and other languages, both ancient and modern. Mr. Dadichi, the king's interpreter, helped Sale in his studies of oriental dialects. Sale was an early members of a society that was established for the encouragement of learning. The society helped finance the cost of publishing for authors. Sale was also a corrector of the Arabic New Testament (1726) issued by the S. P. C. K..

In 1734, the Oriental scholar published the translation of the Qur'an, dedicated to John Lord Carteret. This was an English translation of the Islamic civil code. Sale provided numerous notes and a "Preliminary Discourse" which was manifest with in-depth knowledge of Eastern habits, manners, traditions, and laws. Voltaire bestowed high praise on Sale's version of the Koran. Sale did not, however, place Islam at an equal level with Christianity. He stated,

He assisted in the writing of the Universal History published in London from 1747 to 1768. When the plan of universal history was arranged, Sale was one of those who were selected to carry it into execution. Sale wrote the chapter, "The Introduction, containing the Cosmogony, or Creation of the World". Critics of the time accused Sale of having a view which was hostile to tradition and the Scriptures. They attacked his account of Cosmogony as having a view giving currency to heretical opinions.

Sale became seriously ill for eight days before his death. Sale died, at Surrey-street, Strand, of fever on November 13, 1736. Sale was buried at St. Clement Danes.

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