Carl Gottfried Woide

Carl Gottfried Woide (German: Karl Gottfried Woide) (4 July 1725 – 9 May 1790), also known in England as Charles Godfrey Woide, was an Orientalist and Biblical scholar.

Born into a German family in the Polish city of Leszno, he was a pastor of the Reformed church there till 1768. He studied in Frankfurt an der Oder and in Leiden. In 1750 he transcribed the manuscript of the Lexicon Ægiptiaco-Latinum of Mathurin Veyssière de La Croze in Leiden, which incorporated Sahidic words by Christian Scholtz. Woide learnt Coptic and became an expert in the Sahidic language.

Woide lived in Britain from 1768 to 1790, serving as pastor of the German Reformed Church at the Savoy and the Dutch Reformed Chapel at St James Palace, and later becoming a librarian at the British Museum in charge of its Oriental manuscripts.[1] He was one of the first scholars to work on the Egyptian Sahidic texts.[2] He examined the Codex Alexandrinus and published text of the New Testament from this codex in 1786.

Woide held a doctorate of divinity from the University of Copenhagen. He was elected a fellow of the Royal Society in 1785, created D.C.L. by the University of Oxford in 1786, and appointed a fellow of many foreign societies. He was struck by apoplexy while in conversation at the house of Sir Joseph Banks in 1790, and later died in his rooms at the British Museum. Woide possessed some leaves of Uncial 070, a Greek-Coptic diglot manuscript of the New Testament known as Fragmentum Woideanum. Woide's papers are held at the British Library.

Woide was described in 1782 by C. P. Moritz as living "not far from Paddington, in a very salubrious quarter on the edge of the town, where he breathes cleaner and fresher air than in the city. Although well known as a learned authority on Oriental languages, he is nevertheless a sociable and not unworldly man."[3]



  1. Panikos Panayi, "Germans in Britain Since 1500"
  2. Le Jardin des Livres
  3. Carl Philip Moritz: Journeys of a German in England in 1782, tr. and ed. Reginald Nettel (New York, NY: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, Inc., 1965), p. 60.

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