Adriaan Reland (also Adriaen Reeland / Reelant ,Hadrian Relandus ) born July 17, 1676, De Rijp , The
Netherlands; February 5, 1718, Utrecht was a Dutch researcher in oriental studies, philology and cartography
and is known as the first westerner who tried to describe the Middle Eastern Muslim world
accurately and objectively and gained importance during the Enlightenment.
Reeland first studied Latin languages in Amsterdam at the age of 11 and came in at Utrecht University at age
13 to study at the theological and philosophical faculties and he had a special interest in Hebrew
and Chaldean. Received a doctorate in Utrecht in 1794. Studied Arabic.
He was appointed professor of physics and metaphysics at the University of Harderwijk, but already in 1701 he
became professor of Oriental languages at the University of Utrecht. This was extended with a Chair in
Jewish antiquity. He was one of the earliest Orientalists.
Relandi became known for his in-depth Islamic studies and their linguistic research. He was interested in the
Eastern myths in relation to the Old Testament and also studied Persian . He published a work which
affects East Asian myths, Dissertationum miscellanearum partes tres ( 1706-1708 ) . He found the link
for the Malay language to the western Pacific based dictionaries written by Willem Schouten and Jacob
Le Maire . He also wrote poetry nylatinsk, Galatea, Lusus poetica .
An important works were The religione mohammedica from 1705, which described Islam and were published
also in extended version in 1717. This piece was the first reasonably objective and systematic
description of Islamic beliefs and worship practices with Arabic texts and comments made in the
West. It quickly became a reference work throughout Europe and was translated into Dutch, English ,
German, French and Spanish. Through his intimate knowledge of the Qur'an could Reland early engage in
interreligious dialogue with Muslims.
He did thorough research on the Middle Eastern locations and to write additional works dealing with the
Semitic peoples of the region of Palestine. He published Antiquitates Sacrae veterum Hebraeorum
( 1708) and Palaestina ex monumentis Veteris illustrata ( 1714 ), where he describes in detail
and systematically demographics around the Holy Land, along with geography. Reland
retained his professorship whole life and died in 1718 in Utrecht, of smallpox.