Francis Joseph Steingass (March 16, 1825, Frankfurt am Main – January 1903) was a British linguist and orientalist of German Jewish descent. He completed his education, including the Ph.D., in Munich, Germany. Later he was professor of Modern Languages at Birmingham, Professor of Modern Languages and Resident Lecturer on Arabic Languages, Literature & Law at the Oriental Institute, Woking.
He knew 14 languages, including Arabic, Persian and Sanskrit. He published a number of Persian-English, Arabic-English and English-Arabic dictionaries.
''A work, then, which calls forth so powerful and seemingly incompatible emotions even in the distant reader - distant as to time, and still more so as mental development - a work which not only conquers the repugnance which he may begin its perusal, but changes this adverse feeling into astonishment and admiration... indeed and a problem of the highest interest to every thoughtful observer of the destinies of mankind. ”
(Quoted in T.P. Hughes' Dictionary of Islam, pp. 526-7.)
''Here, therefore, its merits as a literary production should perhaps not be measured by some preconceived maxims of subjective and aesthetic taste, but by the effects which it produced in Muhammad's contemporaries and fellow countrymen. If it spoke so powerfully and convincingly to the hearts of his hearers as to weld hitherto centrifugal and antagonistic elements into one compact and well organised body, animated by ideas far beyond those which had until now ruled the Arabian mind, then its eloquence was perfect, simply because it created a civilised nation out of savage tribes, and shot a fresh woof into the old warp of history. ”
(Dr. Steingass, quoted in Hughes' Dictionary of Islam, p. 528.)