Biography of Ion Keith-Falconer Missionary to Arabia

Ion Keith-Falconer Missionary to Arabia
Ion Keith-Falconer Missionary to Arabia. Frontipiece

Ion Grant Neville Keith-Falconer [1856-1887] was Professor of Semitic Languages at Cambridge University.

The remarkable life of the third son of the Earl of Kintore was once familiar to many Christians, for his academic and cycle-racing prowess as well as his love of the arabs were outstanding. In 1881 whilst in Assiut in Egypt to learn colloquial Arabic, Keith-Falconer observed the work of a Presbyterian missionary, Dr Hogg. Influence, too, by discussions with General [Felix T.] Haig, and by General Gordon Gordon (of Khartoum) Keith-Falconer heard God’s call to take the Gospel to the Arabs of South Arabia, gaining access by the British Colony of Aden. In 1885 he made a four month visit to assess the situation, concluding that there was much scope for medical and educational work. He chose to make Shaykh’Uthman, twelve miles inland from Steamer Point, Aden, the base for such work which would aim to reach into the interior of the country.

Shirley A. Fraser,  In the Footsteps of Ion Keith-Falconer. A brief overview of the history of the Christian Mission to South Arabia. 1998. p.2. [Brackets mine]

Although he died on malaria within six months of arriving to establish the mission in 1887… “his vision and talents inspired Samuel Zwemer and Zwemer’s brother, Peter, and Scottish and Danish recruits who took up his labors”. [Kenneth Cragg, “Keith-Falconer, Ion G(rant) N(eville),” Biographical Dictionary of Christian Missions, p.356.]

I am grateful to one of Theology on the Web’s supporters for providing a copy of this book for digitisation. This title is in the public domain.

Robert Sinker [1838-1913], Memorials of the Hon. Ion Keith-Falconer. Late Lord Almoner’s Professor of Arabic in the University of Cambridge, and Missionary to the Mohammedans of Southern Arabia. Deighton, Bell & Co. / London: George Bell & Sons, 1903. Hbk. pp.258. [Click to visit the download page]

Contents

  • Preface to the First Edition
  1. Introduction
  2. Home, Childhood, School
  3. Student Life at Cambridge
  4. Evangelistic Work: Barnwell and Mile End
  5. Leipzig
  6. Assiout: Home
  7. Cambridge: Marriage: Kelilah
  8. Aden
  9. Professorship of Arabic
  10. Shaikh Othman
  11. Conclusion
  • L’Envoi

History of the Arabian Mission

Alfred DeWitt Mason & Frederick J. Barny, History of the Arabian MissionThe History of Arabian Missions is one of the most unusual books among the collection passed on to me for digitisation by Redcliffe College. It summarises first the evangelisation the Arabian Peninsular from the the First Century until 1889. From then on it covers in great detail the foundation and developing work the Arabian Mission by James Cantine [1861-1940] and Samuel Marinus Zwemer [1867-1952]. My thanks to Doug Leonard, the Director of RCA Global Mission, for his kind permission to place this book on-line.

Alfred DeWitt Mason & Frederick J. Barny, History of the Arabian Mission. New York: The Board of Foreign Missions Reformed Church in America, 1926. Hbk. pp.256. [Click to download the complete book in PDF]

Contents

  1. The Land and its People
  2. History and Civilisation
  3. Religion and Education
  4. Early Contact with Christianity
  5. The Pioneers
  6. Possessing the Land
  7. Strengthening the Stakes
  8. Lengthening the Cords
  9. Years of the Right Hand of the Most High
  10. Women’s Work for Women
  11. Sister Missions
  12. Conclusion
  • Appendices

This section caught my wife’s eye as she was scanning through the book.

Extract from pp.87-88.

On his return to Arabia in the fall of 1896, he found one new missionary whose accession was the most significant of any that had yet occurred, Mrs. Amy Wilkes Zwemer, who had married Rev. Samuel M. Zwemer at Baghdad, May 18, 1896. Miss Wilkes had been a member of the Church Missionary Society with headquarters in the city of Baghdad. On her marriage to Mr. Zwemer she was released from her contract with the English Society, but the cost of her outfitting and travel to the field had been advanced by the Church Missionary Society and very properly had to be in part at least refunded to them. It, therefore, became a pleasantry among the missionaries to say that “Mr. Zwemer had obtained a wife in true Oriental fashion by buying her from her former people. “And a fellow missionary used to facetiously remark, “Yes, I had to go about at home and raise money to pay for Mr. Zwemer’s wife.” [Continue reading]