WALTON, BRYAN° (1600–1661), English churchman and Orientalist. Born in Yorkshire, Walton studied at Cambridge University and became active in ecclesiastical affairs. As a result of his High Church views and undisguised royalist sympathies, he retired to Oxford in 1639 and there devoted himself to Oriental studies during the 1640s. When a new Polyglot Bible was published in Paris in 1645, Walton began preparing a project of the same kind, but of greater scope and quality, and as the Biblia Sacra Polyglotta, this eventually appeared in six volumes (London, 1654–57). The outstanding work of its type, Walton's London Polyglot contained texts in nine languages, including the Hebrew Old Testament, the Greek Septuagint, the Latin Vulgate, the Samaritan Pentateuch, the Targums, Ethiopic versions of Psalms and Song of Songs, and a Persian translation of the Pentateuch. It also contained the Apocrypha, with Hebrew versions of Tobit by Paulus *Fagius and Sebastian *Muenster. Among the scholars who contributed to the London Polyglot were Edmund *Castell and John *Lightfoot. Walton's own Prolegomena, one of the outstanding early introductions to the Old Testament, later appeared separately and, in this form, went through several editions. The Polyglot as a whole still retains much scholarly value and interest. As a reward for his loyalty to the crown, Walton was made bishop of Chester after the restoration of Charles II in 1660.
Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.